Whether class is already back in session for your child or you’re getting them ready for a change in routine, back-to-school season is now in full swing! Some kids may be sad to see summer ending while others may be excited to see their school friends again, but very few kids (if any) are excited about homework.
For a part of a student’s day that can already feel stressful or boring, taking on the challenge of homework in a loud or gloomy environment can make work feel even less fun. That’s where a homework station can be really helpful! Not only can a homework station help your student stay focused on the task at hand, so that they can get through their homework faster, but it can also change their attitude about homework as a whole!
While there are thousands of different design and layout options, your child’s homework station doesn’t need to be incredibly complicated. A great homework station tends to boil down to these 5 tips:
1. Find a quiet spot
With many people adopting “work-from-home” office stations over the past year, many adults have seen the importance of having a dedicated space to get their work done at home. Trying to be productive in the dead center of a busy house can be difficult for even the most well-disciplined and motivated adults. So as you could imagine, it can be even more difficult for students who are developing their self-discipline and motivation skills to focus on the task at hand. The most important part of setting up a homework station for the student in your life is to make sure it is away from noise and distractions.
2. Pick out the supplies
This is an important step that’s easy to overdo or underdo. Does your first grader need 148 different shades of colored pencils and a 3D printer? Probably not. But we’re sure they would enjoy a little more than a stack of printer paper and one blue pen. All jokes and exaggerations aside, don’t overthink this step. For younger students, start by asking their teacher what they would recommend. Many teachers will send students home with a list of supplies on their first day of school. From there, ask your child what they think might help them with their homework to round out a few more items on your shopping list. For older kids, you can likely skip the asking the teacher step and trust your student.
3. Stay organized
This goes hand-in-hand with steps 1 & 2. Making sure your student’s homework station has drawers and cubbies to keep any toys and extra supplies out of the way will help them stay focused. As you could imagine, for students who love to draw, the box of crayons on their desk may slow down their math homework. At the same time, the essentials should be close by so they don’t have to search for what they need.
4. Make the space bright and motivating
Consider finding ways to make a student’s homework station an inspiring place to be. While we can’t always control our students’ surroundings, doing whatever you can to spruce up the space surrounding where your student does their homework will help them enjoy homework more which may result in a more positive attitude about homework and with it, better performance. Little things like painting the walls a bright and fun color or adding a few educational posters can go a long way. Making sure the room is well lit with natural sunlight has also been shown to boost mood and productivity. But as a warning, it’s still important to keep Step #1 in mind and don’t let the decorations get out of hand to the point where it gets distracting.
5. Make it a team project!
While you may be doing most of the work to put this station together, remember who this workstation is for! Asking your kids to help you come up with ideas and design their homework space can be a great bonding experience and a chance to work together. From browsing the internet for little ideas together to putting the homework station together, making sure your child feels included in the process will help them build their confidence in their abilities to take on new tasks. It will also help them feel more at home in their workspace.
Now that you know where to start, all that’s left is to get going! The student in your life will thank you. While you will likely need to get some supplies and decorations from some bigger companies, we strongly recommend shopping local and supporting RI businesses for as much of your project as you can.