Children are incredibly creative. Though they are probably at their most creative when they are trying to come up with excuses not to do their homework. While there’s not a lot you can do to foil the request for a slow, lazy after school snack, providing your child with their own dedicated homework station will go a long way toward preventing a lot of common excuses. It also helps them be at their very best by keeping everything they need to do their homework close at hand and easy to find.
Choose The Ideal Location
The ideal location for a child’s homework station can vary depending on how diligent and independent your child is, as well as the number of children who need their own homework station. When deciding where to put your child’s homework station consider some of the following scenarios.
Bedroom Homework Station
Setting up a homework station in your child’s bedroom comes with some benefits and potential drawbacks. If they need to watch videos or listen to lessons on their school tablet, it helps keep the chaos out of the rest of the house, while giving them a comfortable place to stay focused.
Though the main drawback of putting their homework station in your child’s bedroom is the risk of distractions. Toys, stuffed animals, and a big comfy bed all invite a child to redirect their focus away from their schoolwork. It can also be an issue for elementary school children who often need help or need to ask questions.
Common Area Homework Stations
Setting up your child’s homework station in a common area of the house such as in the living room, den, dining room or a nook installed gives them a place to work while you can keep an eye on them. It is probably the best option if your child is young and needs help staying on task or simply has a lot of questions.
Choosing The Desk Size
Desk size is another critical consideration. You want to make sure that your child has enough space to open up a standard-size textbook or two with enough room left over for a tablet or iPad stand. Finding the right size desk for your intended location might also be a challenge. If you can’t find what you need at the store, you might need a custom build homework station desk.
Desk Dividers For Multiple Children
If you have more than one child who needs a homework station and you can’t give them their own separate desks, then you might want to consider a desk divider. This could be a simple stand or a cubical divider that gives each child their own space, while also making sure that one child’s things don’t migrate annoyingly into the others.
Pencil & Marker Holders
Most children need a separate place to keep pencils, pens, and markers where they can be easily seen and grabbed. This might be something as simple as a tall cup or even a long block of wood with holes drilled into it. Not only does this make it easy for your child to find the writing instrument for the assignment, but it also encourages them to put everything back in the correct place when they are done using it.
Shelves & Bins
Just like an executive desk with In and Out bins a child’s homework station can also benefit from labeled shelves and bins. Especially if they are receiving lessons at home and they need to shuffle between different worksheets and packets throughout their day. This lets them process through what needs to be done, while also making it easier for you to periodically check on their progress.
Overhead Book Shelves In Reach
Bookshelves for reading materials and textbooks are also a good idea. This lets your child switch between math, English, social studies, or other subjects without constantly having to mess around in their backpack. Just make sure that the shelve you install is easy for them to reach while sitting in their chair.
Lighting & Power
It might not seem like a big deal at first, but one of the most frustrating things for kids is not having enough light to see what they are doing. Especially if they are working on art or having to write on paper. At the same time, they typically need a place to plug in tablets and other educational devices.
If your child’s ideal desk location doesn’t have an outlet or a power strip nearby, you might want to invest in running a 10-foot heavy-duty extension cord to let them charge their devices. For convenient lighting, you could always install portable LED lights. They are energy efficient and lightweight. Most can be installed under a shelf to cast light down onto the desktop. Since they use little energy, they can be battery-powered, which frees up more outlets space.
This is another one of those things that’s easy to accidentally overlook. Though a child without a convenient waste bin nearby is likely to end up with a very messy home workstation. This in turn invites more unnecessary distractions. If an outright garbage can is too much of an eyesore, you could always install a small waste bag in a desk drawer that they can pull out. This gives them a place for scrap paper, pencil shavings, and other debris without it making a mess out of the desktop.
Drawer dividers can make all the difference between helping your child find what they need when they need it, while also keeping their desk from becoming one enormous “Junk Drawer.” It’s great when you also consider just how cheap they are, and easy to install. A lot of the best drawer dividers can be adjusted quickly, which lets you customize them to whatever new units or projects your child is working on this week.
Hanging folder systems are a great way to make use out of the vertical space under your child’s desktop. They also help keep different subjects separate. You can have them take their subjects and books out of their backpack on a Friday night to let things stay organized for the weekend homework if necessary.