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How to create a productive homework space

How to create a productive homework space

Heidi MeyerBy Heidi Meyer

Create a bright and organised homework space with everything at hand. Working in an appealing setting will get your child’s creative juices flowing and motivate it to get work done. Despite this you should introduce a homework routine for the child to succeed.

Create a workspace close to where you can supervise homework and time spent on the computer. This should preferably not be the bedroom as there will be too many distractions!

The space and tool requirement will largely depend on the age of your child and this is only a guideline.

Let your child be part of the planning process

Allow your child to decide on colour, few décor and organising items to personalise the space.

Bare essentials

By providing the basics your child will become self sufficient and independent in doing its homework.

  • You need a comfortable ergonomic chair. Don’t save here, your child will spend many hours on it. An unsuitable chair can have a detrimental effect on its spine.
  • Even though your child may insist that it can best do its homework sprawled out on the carpet, it is best to set up a compact work station with a desk or table. Provide sufficient space to spread out books and papers, close to a power outlet. These basics should get them into the habit to focus whilst working.
  • A freestanding lamp will free up desk space and provide adequate lighting for your child to work comfortably and avoid eyestrain.
  • Keep a dustbin or recycle bin close at hand for trash.
  • To create an effective homework centre it is essential to have the necessary supplies at hand, let them keep the school supplies in their bags and use the homework supplies whilst doing homework. This will avoid it leaving supplies behind that it needs at school.

On the desk

  • Use a carousel or caddy to store art materials, ruler, scissors, pencils, pens, markers and glue sticks.
  • A sturdy tape dispenser will take the frustration out of finding the end of the tape and cutting it, especially for little fingers.
  • A timer or clock will get your child into the habit of scheduling and to get things done timorously.
  • A computer is essential for research and typing up assignments.

Shelves

  • Install shelving or cubbies of the correct height for the storage of activity and drawing books, reading books, dictionaries, reference books and files. Personalise the space with keepsakes, photos and memorabilia.
  • Use coloured storage boxes or wicker baskets for stashing supplies and matching binders to add to the look of the space.
  • Store extra large sheets of project board rolled up in a cupboard to be at hand for that forgotten last minute project.

Drawers

  • Add stationery drawer dividers to store a range of supplies. Store the most used items in the top drawer, like sharpener, stapler, staples, hole-punch and mathematics set.
  • Paper, card and folders in a next drawer,
  • Schoolbooks that are not needed on a daily basis in another
  • Extra supplies like book covers, labels in yet another.

Dry erase or bulletin board

This creates a backsplash for timetable, extra-mural timetable, memo’s and letters from school. Allow your child to display its art on a weekly basis. Be ruthless on what you keep or it might become another headache. Use A3 File folders to store the keepsakes.

Follow a routine

Children thrive on routine and when homework is required to be done at the same time of day, it will be easier to buckle down and it will be completed more quickly. Encourage your child to start with the most challenging assignment to get it out of the way whilst he is still fresh.

Avoid distractions

No one can concentrate on two things at a time, so no cell phone, TV or video games should be allowed, whilst it is busy with homework. The less the distractions the faster the work will be completed with less errors.

Take a break

Let your child take a short break between assignments, it will give the brain a breather so that it can focus better on the next task. Allow quiet time after written assignments or schedule a second session, for study time, away from distraction. Make time to quiz it if he so wishes.

Keep it neat and tidy

Insist that your child gets into the habit of tidying up after a homework session.

  • pack away all the supplies where they belong,
  • toss any scraps of paper lying around,
  • get the homework checked by the responsible adult,
  • pack its school bag with the necessary books and supplies,
  • hang the bag ready for the next day.

Giving your child pride in his homework space, will rub off on his work ethics to produce high quality work and to achieve.