In our previous blog we talked about all of the unique kinds of clutter that come with having children in school. Text books, backpacks, handouts, science projects and other school-related items need places to be. Without assigning them a specific one, they will surely end up on floors, stuffed in a closet or otherwise lost.
Of course, with school also comes homework. The amount will depend largely on the ages of your child(ren), but these days even Kindergarteners are encouraged to practice newly-learned skills at home. That’s why we felt it was appropriate to re-visit a topic we’ve talked about in the past: creating a dedicated space for homework.
If you’re fortunate, you may have a whole room (such as a home office) which you can devote to doing homework. Here in Greater Vancouver, more people are pressed for space in their homes, in which case perhaps only a small part of a room will become dedicated to doing homework. If this describes your situation, don’t worry, a little space is better than no space, and it’s usually better than relegating kids to doing homework at the dining room table. This is not to say that the table is always a bad idea. Sometimes the table is better, like when a child is working on a large visual project (like a science or art project) and needs space to spread out, or when a child needs some extra help on an assignment while Mom is busy cooking dinner and has to multi-task.
However, educators agree that, generally speaking, a dedicated homework spot is usually conducive to higher levels of concentration and results in more thorough work, fewer distractions and better grades. Here we provide a few tips based on research and recommendations by educators, interior designers and, the best teachers of all… parents.
* Keep it simple. Whether your kids have a whole room for doing homework or simply a desk in the corner of the bedroom, keep the area simple and streamlined. Don’t allow too much clutter to accumulate in this area. Toys should not be kept here. The desk and accompanying shelves or cupboards, if any, should only contain what is necessary for doing homework.
* Stock the homework area with the right tools. As mentioned, toys don’t go here, but other things do. If kids have everything that they need right at hand to complete assignments (as opposed to hunting for it in other parts of the house), homework time will be more efficient and less prone to distraction. Things you might need to keep here, depending on your child’s age, include pens, pencils, colored pencils, crayons, notebook paper, scissors, stapler and tape, plus anything else that is age and subject-appropriate.
* Help kids organize all of their tools in a manner than encourages tidiness and efficiency. In other words, help them decide which things go in what drawer, what items should be kept on the surface of the desk (as opposed to being in a cupboard or on a shelf), and what things are better kept off the desk’s surface and on a shelf. You might even want to put stickers in different areas that indicate what tools go in a particular spot (this is an especially great idea for younger children).
FYI: Tailored Living slatwall and gridwall isn’t just for the garage. We can install it anywhere, including the space above and around a child’s desk. It makes for a handy way to store pencils, pens, scissors and other important homework tools efficiently, keeping the area organized and leaving the surface of the desk clutter-free.
* Keep distractions to a minimum in the homework area.
* Get kids in the habit of using the desk only for school-related work (not for playing Lego, etc.). This helps kids to get into the right mindset when they sit down to do homework. Their brain quickly differentiates that this area, and therefore this part of their day, is for concentrating on homework.
* Let kids help out when it comes to designing the homework area. Though the area shouldn’t be a place for toys, it can be a place for them to express their personalities. Let them choose their own desk, decorate the area with posters or artwork that they like, pick out a desktop caddy, etc. It will give them a sense of ownership over the space and become a place that’s not a burden to spend time in.
Need help designing your dedicated homework space? Let Tailored Living come in to your home for a free consultation. With our 3D design software, our experts can show you exactly what your new homework corner or home office space could look like in three-dimensions.