Homework time may not be a welcome time in your home, but creating a space dedicated to school work can make the process go a little smoother. Read on for some tips for creating an efficient homework space for your child.
First you need to find a space for your homework center. The best location for your family will depend on the personality of your child. If they are self-motivated and have little difficulty getting their homework done in a timely manner, a quiet space in their bedroom may be the best option. However, if you have a child who needs supervision to get their homework completed (like my son!), a space in the kitchen, dining room, living room or family room may be more appropriate. Either way, make sure that during homework time, the space can be available to your child without distraction – no TV, music, video games, etc.
Equip the space with a desk or child-sized table and chairs. This furniture will give your child a space to do their best work in their best handwriting. Slouching in a sofa or lounge chair will encourage sloppy work (or naps!) for many children. :) Lounge furniture works great for a reading space, however, which could also be a part of the homework space in your home.
In some of today’s homes, built-in desks have become a part of the normal home layout. Sometimes they are located in mudrooms or kitchens, while other times they are found in hallways near bedrooms or in bonus spaces above garages. No matter where they are located, built-in desks create a great option for homework space. In older homes, an empty nook can house a built-in desk intended for homework. Often, a simple laminate countertop is all that is needed to create a functional desk space. Set it on top of 2 short file cabinets for an instant – and inexpensive – desk. Proper desk height is 30″ to the top; for smaller children, adding a step stool will keep their feet from dangling from the chair. The photo below shows a fantastic, functional and stylish homework space created by McArthur Homes in Utah. It is a very simple set-up, but contains everything you need for a child to be successful at their homework each day.
Make sure you have all the tools available they will need to complete their assignments. This way, your child has no excuse NOT to get their homework done in a timely manner. (Not that MY children would EVER make excuses about homework!) Keep a stack of loose-leaf paper and notebooks handy, as well as a pencil box with #2 pencils, erasers, pens, crayons and other tools. For older students, you may also want to include basic reference books such as a dictionary or thesaurus. (While electronic versions of these books are handy, the games on the computer or e-reader may prove to be distracting. Just saying.) :)
Proper lighting is also important, so be sure you have the space equipped with a portable lamp if the lighting in the room isn’t sufficient (it probably isn’t). If you have a built-in desk intended for homework use, under-cabinet lighting is a great option.
A comfortable, well-appointed homework space may just make your school year a little less stressful – for both child and parent. Involve your child in the planning and set-up of their homework space, and hopefully, you will have a more willing participant when homework time rolls around.