Doesn’t it feel like summer just started? We collectively blinked and – bam! – it’s time to get ready to go back to school. And that means it’s time for back-to-school shopping. You want to make sure your kids are prepped for their best possible year. As you pick up pencils and backpacks, you might want to grab some other supplies, too. Creating a homework space in your home can help your kids thrive during this school year.
A homework space might not seem that crucial. Many teens love to flop down on the couch with their laptops, and smaller kids are often happiest working on the floor. But think about it: If you worked from home, would you want to be constantly seeking out new spaces to foster productivity, or would you want a dedicated area for your work? Your kids probably aren’t all that different. By carving out a part of the home that’s theirs for getting work done, you allow them to take ownership of their homework (and maybe even find ways to enjoy it).
So, without further ado, here are six tips for creating a homework space before the academic year kicks off.
Location, location, location
Apply this real estate principle to your own home for a more successful homework area. You don’t want to put your young kids’ desks on the opposite end of the house and find yourself running back and forth while preparing dinner. On the other hand, as your kids age, they might enjoy more autonomy. You know your kids best. Think through their personality types when choosing a spot for the homework zone.
You wouldn’t like going to a cold, fluorescent-lit office for work. Why should your kids be any different? Create a space they’ll enjoy spending time in and they’re more likely to use it – and actually get some homework done there. Make sure there’s plenty of light. Add pillows or throws so they can cozy up. Let them fill the space with things they love, from art and posters to their favorite books. Your kids probably don’t think homework is very cool. If you can create a cool space in which they can do it, you just might encourage them to stay on top of things.
Cultivate a calendar
It’s important to leave room for a large clock and calendar. If your kids are old enough, encourage them to fill their calendar with upcoming field trips, events, due dates and tests. Seeing everything they’ve got coming up can help them stay motivated.
A clock in the homework area is key for younger kids who get set “homework time” each night. Having the time clearly displayed can save you an earful of, “Am I done yet?”
Initiate an inbox
Isn’t it funny how important pieces of paper have a way of evaporating between school and your front door? You can’t avoid this entirely, but you can help your kids implement a system that makes it easier to get key papers into your hands. Set up their homework area with an inbox. This should be an actual tray into which they can put permission slips, report cards and important documents. That way, when the teacher hands them something, they can picture its journey from Point A (that moment) to Point B (their inbox).
Get them excited with a gallery
Like any work, homework is exhausting if you don’t feel like you have something to show for it. When creating a homework space, prominently feature a gallery area. Use this to post art, awards, fun pictures from school and good report cards. Kids don’t get a paycheck to keep them motivated week in and week out. A visual reminder of schoolwork’s positive outcomes can help them stay engaged and productive.
Buy into bins
When you read articles about organizing your home, you’ll be hard-pressed to find one that doesn’t feature bins and drawer organizers. Bins aren’t a one-size-fits-all organization solution, but we do think they’re great for kids. Younger humans tend to “just throw stuff” somewhere. If they can just throw it into the bin where it actually belongs, you’ll have a much higher rate of success with keeping the homework area organized.
More inspiration for creating a homework space
Searching for extra inspiration for what your homework area will actually look like? Don’t worry; we’ve got plenty for you. Here’s a roundup of some great study areas to get your ideas flowing when creating a homework space in your own home.