Making the Grade: Creating a Homework Space for Your Child
Now that school’s back in session, your home is probably overrun with backpacks, school books, pencil cases, folders, permission slips, and more. To help contain the clutter and keep your kids on top of their schoolwork, it’s a great idea to create a homework space for your children so that they have a dedicated space to sit down, sort through papers, and finish their homework every evening.
When first planning your child’s “office,” consider where it makes the most sense to put it. For younger children who need supervision, it’s logical to have their homework space be in the heart of the home-usually the kitchen. Depending on your home’s available space and layout, other options might be an alcove off the kitchen or a nook in your living room. If your child is older and responsible enough to complete their work without your watchful eye, you can add a little office area in their room. Choose a space where your child won’t encounter a lot of distractions.
If your family’s home is short on space, a child’s homework area can have multi-use for a busy family by doubling as the family’s planning desk and message center. In this case, it often makes sense to place the homework area in the kitchen or adjacent mudroom, where each family member passes through several times per day and will easily see items like a family calendar, important notes and phone numbers, and more. Permission slips and papers that need to be looked at by an adult can easily be pinned to a backsplash bulletin board or placed in an “in-box” until they get looked at, at which point you can place them in the “out-box” for your child to take back to school. Other items you may wish to place in a family message center are pens and pencils, paper, office supplies such as tape and paper clips, a dry erase board for notes and reminders, and a family computer if space permits.
Finally, ensure that the space makes it easy for your child to be efficient when doing homework. Items like a calendar and a clock in easy eyesight will help your child plan ahead and stay on track to be done with homework before it’s time to leave for soccer practice. The desktop should have the basics only- a lamp, a pencil jar, and a folder or box for important papers- so that there’s room to spread out and work without any distractions. Outfit the area with a desk and chair that will grow with your child as they make their way through grade school. Finally, keep supplies organized using smart storage, and add some personality to the space by covering the wall in cork tiles (so that you can show off their artwork or A+ papers) or chalkboard paint (so that your child’s creativity can shine through with chalk doodles and reminders).
Sure, homework may not be the first thing your child wants to do every afternoon after school, but with a smart homework area that facilitates completing work efficiently in an environment that makes learning fun, you and your child can both make the grade.