For many, today is the first day back to school. I see the moms doing the happy dance as the kids drag themselves to the school bus. I don’t know about you but finding a good spot to do homework was always an issue at our house. I wanted the “perfect setting” – desk with no noise while Belinda liked to do it sitting on the bed or couch with the TV or music on. Homework can be a stressful affair for both kids AND parents. But while homework is a fact of life, the daily chaos which results doesn’t have to be.
Want to make your family’s after-school routine a little less stressful? A dedicated homework station is a must!
Homework stations keep supplies on hand and distractions to a minimum, providing kids with a quiet, supervised, place to study. When your kids are older and the workload becomes heavier, a centrally located workspace can help reduce feelings of isolation, allowing them to spend time with the family as they work. A shared workspace can also go a long way toward keeping your teen safe as they begin to spend more and more time on the computer.
I know you may think you don’t have the space for this, right? The truth is you can create an attractive and well-organized study zone for your family. Have a large living room? Consider dedicating a wall to a row of mini workstations. Tight on space? Why not convert an upstairs landing or hallway into a homework zone? You’ll be surprised what you can pull together when you think outside of the box! Here are some great ideas
The first thing is to find a room or space in your home which works for your child. Depending how much assistance they will need, this could be in the kitchen or family room or at a desk in their own room. The ultimate goal is to get them working in a proper set‐up with a table and chair instead of working from their lap – this way they establish good habits, can properly work on their handwriting and have room to spread out all their materials.
1) CLIPBOARDS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND
Clipboards are a good way to display important papers your kids may bring home from school, and can help stay on top of due dates and deadlines. A quick glance at the clipboard and you immediately know there is SOMETHING they need to work on – even if it’s a spelling list or a book report which isn’t due for a few weeks. These can be picked up at the Dollar Store or Target or Walmart. Wherever you get them, definitely jump on-board the clipboard bandwagon!
2) INCLUDE A CALENDAR
Calendars are ULTRA important. It’s a great idea to hang one in your homework station to keep track of homework projects, upcoming tests, homework assignments, and all other important dates. There are a lot of different types of calendars you could use. But a simple paper one you can easily hang is tops on my list. Like the clipboards, you can get these practically anywhere (even for free). As much as I love a great dry-erase board, you don’t have to worry about anything you write down accidentally being erased. Which is always a huge plus!
3) MAKE SPACE FOR BACKPACKS
Do your kids walk through the door after school, take their backpacks off and throw them on the ground. So fun, right? *Rolls eyes*. To avoid breaking an ankle and unnecessary messes, designate a space for backpacks! Cubbies are ideal but if you are limited on space have them hang their backpacks on the back of their designated chair at the homework station. This way things can be added to the backpack as they are done and nothing is forgotten at home.
4) STORE IMPORTANT PAPERS
Loosing important school papers is the absolute worst! Some basic hanging wall baskets or hanging wall file organizers are really helpful. Just designate one basket per child (or person in your family) and keep anything important pertaining to that person in it. Or, you could divide your wall file organizer by designating the bottom space for homework that needs to be done, the middle for homework to be checked/signed off by you, and the top for school forms/fliers.
5) ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPLIES
Ever have one of those homework moments when you couldn’t find a pencil or calculator for the life of you? Yeah. Not so fun. I recommend keeping common homework and art supplies within arm’s reach of your homework station so there is NO excuse for them to not do their math!
Here are some simple DIY homework organization ideas:
- Cutlery Caddy –You can get these inexpensively at pretty much any big-box store, or even your local dollar store. Then assign each compartment in the caddy for a specific homework supply like crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, etc. Note: Usually the caddies from the dollar store only have two compartments. So one thing you could do is also purchase six plastic drinking cups from the dollar store, put three on eachside of the caddy and then place your various homework supplies in the cups. This plate rack caddy is also a great way to organize school supplies. Simply buy some buckets, cans, mason jars, or whatever to store each of your supplies in and you’re good to go!
- Door Organizer –This could be something like an over the door shoe holding organizer you can get at Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, or anywhere else selling home organizing products. Just make sure to get a clear one so the kids can easily see what supplies are in what storage pocket.
- Art Cart – Find rolling utility carts at most big craft stores and home stores (even Amazon has some!). From there you can begin to fill your art cart with not only supplies like crayons and pencils but also notebooks, counting aids, flash cards, books, and so much more!
What is YOUR best tip for setting up a homework station? Share your back to school pictures with us…..