Ready for the school year? Here we go, the start of school means that homework is BACK. These tips will help you to set up a homework station that actually FUNCTIONS in your house. I've put together some of the same information I presented at back to school night as a teacher. I've also included tips that we have implemented in our own home.
Created in Partnership with Yoobi.
Whether you have a permanent dedicated space or want to know how to turn your kitchen table into a temporary homework space each day…….then these tips will get there you!
Well…..it's time. Whether you have a kindergartner who needs to practice their sight words, a first or second grader who needs to play addition and subtraction games, or an older child who needs to read their favorite chapter book each day , then I can guarantee homework is loading.
Let's start by talking about the FUNCTION of homework. Homework is meant to reinforce learning that happens at school. Your child should be practicing skills they already know, not struggling to learn something new. This is NOT supposed to be stressful. It is NOT supposed to take hours. Therefore, before we talk about physical set up and the perfect homework station, I wanted to talk about emotional support and set up for something that can become…..a bit stressful for some families.
Tips for Emotional Support and Homework
- homework time : I'd suggest communicating with your child's teacher about their expectations for the amount of time to be spent on homework each day. Generally, we say it should be about 10-20 minutes per grade. Basically, we'd do 10 minutes to 15 minutes in Kindergarten, then 15 minutes to 20 minutes in first or second grade and so on. In my opinion, it should never be more than about 40 minutes in elementary school and then definitely never more than an hour even for the oldest kids.
- break cards: it's important to remember that homework does not need to be completed in one chunk of time. Your child has already been at school ALL day. Breaks are important. Break cards are a great option, and also are a way to teach your child to identify and advocate for their own needs, and something you can easily include in your homework station.
- have a stopping point: one of the most important things about homework, is that your child knows their job is to try their best. They may not always finish every assignment. That is ok. Homework is a way your child can TRY newer skills independently after they have been a part of the school routine. If they have mastered them, and are able to complete an assignment in a reasonable amount of time? Great. If not? It's a good idea to write a note to the teacher. You have valuable information…..that your child needs more support or instruction surrounding this particular task or skill.
How to Assemble the Perfect Homework Station: Tips from a Teacher
Now, let's chat about creating a homework area. It's important for children to have a dedicated space to work, even if it's a small space. Remember, your child has some form of a work space in their classroom as do all the other children. Classrooms have a variety of places for children to complete school work. And for the most part, the spaces for individual students are fairly small. Your child doesn't need an entire room to have their needs met, a small homework station will be just fine.
Homework Station: Picking a Space
There are a few specific things to keep in mind while picking a space for a kids homework station. It's important to consider noise, physical elements, and your child's needs. Does your child need total quiet? Are they distracted by watching people walk by the front of your home? Do they enjoy working outdoors?
There are two types of homework stations you can set up in your home, a permanent space (normally in your kids' rooms) or a portable homework station that can be set up in your family room, dining room or living room. Both of these options can be effective, they just take a bit of planning.
Important Elements to Any Homework Nook
- a comfortable chair: this can be a traditional desk char, an arm chair, a bean bag…..anything that allows your child to sit up and be supported while they work.
- enough space to spread out supplies and papers: many people need to physically see their work to complete it. There needs to be space to spread out materials, text books, and reference materials. It can be anything from a desk in your child's bedroom to a dining table.
- the ability to create quiet: a door that can be shut works. Great ideas if you don't have that option? Headphones. A small bluetooth speaker that can play calm music (this is a stellar option for older children). Anything that gives the ability to mute or quiet distracting sounds, especially in a common area.
- a table or laptop tray: in a perfect world with a designated space to work…..you'd have a desk or table for completing work. But, if that isn't feasible? Think about a work tray. A laptop tray that will create a flat space for work can be totally functional and easy to assemble then put away as needed.
If you have a permanent space (say in your kids' rooms )….you can leave supplies out and neatly organized. But the key for a smaller space? The perfect solution is a homework supply basket or caddy. You'll keep ALL supplies needed for homework time in one bucket or basket. Your child will take that out at homework time and set up a temporary new homework station for their work time. At the end? They'll put it BACK into the caddy and put the caddy away. Rinse and repeat each day.
Homework Station Ideas: Homework Supplies
Now let's talk school supplies, materials needed, and how to organize everything for a perfectly functioning diy homework station.
My biggest advice? When setting up a homework station, you want all supplies needed to complete assignments, and a way to organize them. A child's homework station should have everything necessary so that they can sit down, and get right to work without asking for the basics or wasting time avoiding what needs to be done.
Homework Zone Supplies List
- sharpened pencils
- pencil sharpener
- highlighter set
- mini office supply set
- folder to store loose papers
- pencil case or storage caddy
My favorite school supplies to include in any work area? Yoobi products. I've shared their company many times over the years…..and can tell you first hand…..they make a difference. Yoobi, the “buy one, give one” school and office supply brand, believes all children should have an equal opportunity to learn and be creative. For every item purchased, Yoobi donates a school supply item to a U.S. child in need. In fact, my old school in Los Angeles received Yoobi supplies and they were an amazing support to our classrooms. Bonus? Yoobi has ADORABLE, fun and colorful collections (they even have a Marvel collection)….so can guarantee they're a fun way to bring some excitement to your homework station. You can buy their products HERE on Target.com, highly suggest letting your child pick their favorites so that they have some ownership over their work space!
SHOP YOOBI SUPPLIES HERE
Whatever the age of your child, I can guarantee these tips for creating a homework station will help to create a perfect place for work at home. Between extracurricular activities, and holidays and LIFE…..it can be hard to create smooth homework routines….but a dedicated space will definitely help to meet your childs' needs.
Do you have a homework station in your home? What does it look like? And what are YOUR tips for creating the ultimate homework station?
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