In a recent poll conducted by Houzz, the leading website for home remodeling, more than half of the respondents (52 percent) reported that the designated homework spot in their home is either the kitchen or dining table. Why? So parents can “keep an eye on progress.”
Experts at Houzz note that in addition to parental supervision, creating the right study space within the home will not only help kids get their homework finished, but can also help them learn more effectively. According to the poll, 13 percent reported that the homework spot in their home was “sprawled on the couch or family room rug,” which, according to the New Jersey Education Association, should be re-evaluated. The group found that the most important elements to a successful homework space are comfortable seating, enough work surface, a place to store materials, and a distraction-free area.
Following are some tips from Houzz for realizing the perfect home study space:
Tip #1: Choose the right spot
“A serene spot to study is essential for school-age kids, especially in a busy household,” says Houzz contributor Laura Gaskill. “Find a space to dedicate to homework and quiet reading, and make sure no one interrupts when it is being used.”
Convert a specific area to a designated study spot: Consider a desk in the child’s bedroom, a corner of a home office or even a built-in desk tucked into an alcove. Even the kitchen or dining room can act as homework central, as long as the rest of the family remembers to keep disruptions to a minimum.
Consider study habits: A study area with room for two or more could work wonders for siblings who prefer to study together. Providing plenty of workspace and supplies for everyone helps keep the peace. For personalities that tackle work better alone, separate spaces might be best. Desks are typically best for math and writing, but a separate area for reading, like a beanbag or armchair, can provide a comfy spot to get lost in a book as well as a welcome change of scenery.
Keep computers out in the open: When homework requires online time, keep track of web browsing by positioning the home computer in a space that’s open to the whole family. A corner of the kitchen, family room or even a hallway can work for productive studying and easy monitoring.
Tip #2: Keep it organized
Notebooks here, teachers’ notes there and textbooks who knows where? That’s a surefire path to homework disaster. Follow these steps to keep the workspace spic and span.
Designate a landing zone: When there’s a designated spot for backpacks, important papers and other homework necessities that make the trip from school to home and back, items are much less likely to go missing. Even a simple hook hung by a desk could do the trick.
Bring in a bulletin board: Important notes and reminders won’t go unnoticed when they’re tacked prominently to a workspace bulletin board. Not only do they keep a desktop organized, they’re also a great way to add personality to a space. Kids can add their artwork, inspiring photos, or anything else that might keep them motivated.
Use storage bins and shelves: Wicker baskets, bins and inexpensive plastic tubs can hold anything and everything. Use a label maker to ensure each crayon, marker and pencil stays in its rightful place.
Tip #3: Get creative
Now that the study spot has been picked and everything organized, it’s time to have some fun. Adding personality to the space will get kids excited to learn.
Make the space unique: Photographer and homeschooler Julie Ranee hangs a hammock in her children’s study space to provide a cozy spot for reading. Consider how children best study and tailor the space to their needs.
Bring kids into the decorating process: “A room painted in a color they love and choose will give them a sense of ownership and pride in the space,” says Houzz contributor Shawn Gauthier. Giving kids a say in the style of the space might be more likely to want to spend time there.
Add a little inspiration: A small print or note with an inspirational message will motivate younger learners to stay the course.