The school year is almost over, but that doesn't mean your child is done with all that extra work to do after school. Homework may not be his favorite part of the school year, but it’s no secret that completing those after-school assignments can lead to academic success. The way YOU go about it is the key, too.
"We have to be intentional to reframe our attitudes and actions about homework in a positive way, since it's unlikely to occur naturally," says author Michelle Myers. "Once we change our attitude, we stand a much better chance to help our kids make the change, too." Myers says it's a good idea to also find the right time in the day for your child to do his homework. While some kids want to do it immediately after school, others may need a "brain break" before getting started on homework.
Another way to help is setting up the right environment. Help the students in your household develop good study habits and tackle their homework with confidence by creating at least one of these well-stocked study stations within your home.
1. A Desk in the Bedroom
This option is ideal for students who need a designated work space away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the family. While a bedroom desk may not be the best choice for students who need homework help or frequent reminders to stay on task, it works well for both older students and self-motivated learners. Consider a high loft bed with a desk underneath when floor space is at a premium.
2. A Family Work Zone
Some families designate an entire room in their house as a family work zone, equipping the space with computers and printers as well as a table or desk for writing and big, comfy chairs for reading and studying. Art and craft supplies are often found here too, since these rooms are designed with both creativity and productivity in mind.
Kids who like company while doing homework thrive in this kind of environment, since siblings are often close by working on projects of their own. Loft spaces, basements, attics and spare bedrooms all lend themselves to becoming a family work zone with the right furniture and accessories.
3. Central Command Center
Love the idea of a family work zone, but don’t have the space? A small desk in the kitchen or family room can serve as a work space for the whole family, too, especially when there are cabinets for storage either above or below. Think about where you keep items like calendars, school papers and the family computer in your home. You probably already have a central command center of sorts; stash scissors, pens, paper and glue sticks there, and you have a simple study station ready to go.
4. A Multi-Purpose Office
Mom or Dad’s home office can easily double as your family’s homework headquarters. Standard office supplies will already be on hand, and it’s a room that has already been designed with work in mind. For younger students, clear a space on the desk or tuck a small table and chair into a corner of the room so they can work on their assignments while you work on yours.
To make this arrangement work with older students, consider assigning designated office hours so every member of the family knows when he can expect to use the space.
5. A Rolling Homework Cart
Need some flexibility in your life? Keep in mind that a homework headquarters doesn’t have to be stationary. Invest in a rolling homework cart, and students can do homework almost anywhere in the house. Notebooks, file folders, writing supplies, paper and even laptops and printers can be stored on these carts, especially if you invest in one with at least three shelves. With this option, you enjoy the added bonus of easy cleanup and out-of-the-way storage, since the cart can be rolled right back into an inconspicuous closet or alcove once homework is completed.
6. The Kitchen Table
Despite objections from parents, the kitchen table remains a popular homework spot among kids. There’s just something so appealing (and convenient) about spreading your books and papers across the very surface where your family eats dinner every evening. If this is the study space your kids insist on using, keep it clutter-free by insisting that supplies are stored elsewhere and try to limit other household distractions during homework hours.
Creating a designated study space within your home, whether simple or elaborate, sends the message that your family values both homework and education. It’s one of the easiest – but most important – things you can do to help your children achieve school year success.