If You Build It, They Will Study: Organizing Tips For Creative Homework Stations
If you want to give your kids every advantage this school year, make sure they have a proper and productive study space for homework. We’ve got some smart tips for creating an organized home study station for your favorite students. Make this your weekend DIY, and keep these things in mind as you go:
Location, Location, Location!
When choosing the right spot for your kids to set up their studies, you’ll want to find the right balance between supervision and privacy. If your kids are still little, you may do well with a small table tucked next to your kitchen counter, but if their homework requires a bit more concentration, consider putting a desk just outside the kitchen. This allows for a bit more privacy, while keeping them close enough for you to monitor their activity, and offer help as needed.
Once you’ve identified the right location, look around at your existing furniture and built-ins to see what could be most easily transformed into a haven for homework. Convert a closet or hallway alcove into a fully-stocked study-centric think tank! Don’t have a kid-sized nook available? Add a fold-down desk to any blank wall and… voila! Akin to the adjustable, wall-hung shelving units that can turn any wall into a fully-functional home office, wall-mounted, fold-down desks are popping up all over. These flexible desk options mean there’s always a study surface at the ready, and the fold-up models offer the added bonus of hiding all the school supplies behind the stashed-away desktop when homework is finished.
Stock up on the basics.
Stock their station with everything your kids might need to get their work done, such as pens, a calculator, a school calendar, and in-and-out boxes for unfinished assignments and for finished projects waiting for parents to review. If you can’t spare the storage space, pick up a rolling cart with drawers and a small shelf, that you can tuck away in a closet when need be. Good task lighting is also essential, and power source availability should be considered if a computer is required.
Form aids function.
Space constraints may be the first concern when choosing where to set up homework central, but you’ll want to consider your kids’ study habits, too. Some students are more comfortable (read: more productive) splayed out on the floor, than sitting up at a desk. Accommodate your kids’ comfort level by adding a soft area rug, or a comfy chair and lap desk, to best facilitate their studies, their way.
Closed space, open mind.
To help them stay focused, try putting your kids in a box… a cardboard box, that is. To cut down on distractions, a few makeshift walls can make a world of difference. Cut out three sides of a large box and place it atop their work surface to create a cubicle-style study center. Use colored duct tape to reinforce the edges, and affix important notes or calendars on the inside of their new cubicle, or let your kids decorate them as they see fit.
Self-adhesive corkboard wall tiles are a great way to start to instill the organizational thinking that will serve your students well throughout their academic careers. Place smaller cork tiles around your kids’ workspace in a logical fashion, and avoid having the corkboard turn into a pin one, pin all dumping ground. Try designating one cork tile per class, or have one for classwork and one for after-school programs, etc. Teach your kids to rotate calendars and notices weekly, so posted information stays relevant and timely.
If you have more than one student in the house, a side-by-side workstation may be in order. Make sure there is ample room for everyone, available outlets for two computers, and plenty of drawer or cabinet space to store supplies. Colored file boxes help hide clutter when the area is not in use and dedicating one color per student will keep things orderly and stylish, too.
Let us know which of these strategies work best in your home, or if you’ve found your own way to create an inspiring homework station for your kids. What unique challenges does your space pose… and how have you overcome them? We want to hear from you, so please share your comments below.