the anatomy of a great homework zone!

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True…my kids are at home for school. So their homework zones are a bit larger, more complex then some. But, regardless of if your kids are in public, private, home or elsewhere…they probably have homework! And, you have someplace they do that homework in.
Maybe they use the dining room table. Maybe they have a desk. Hey…maybe you kick them outside under the stars! Wherever they are, here are the things you want to try to provide.
If you don’t have the ability to have something permanent…just stash the needed items in a bin that they can take out when it’s time for homework! Instant homework zone! Woot!


1. Elbow room.

They don’t need a whole country…but they do need to spread out a bit.
Try to provide space for a textbook AND notebook to be open at the same time.


2. Organization.

Even if they pull out a bin and put it back each night…keeping their stuff organized saves time and energy. Less time and energy looking for things makes for happier kids and parents!
Put their schedule in an easy to see spot. Have a handy place for homework assignments and notes from the teacher! Being organized is a sure-fire way of getting assignments done on time! Perhaps a corkboard to put things, maybe a central notebook, or even a fancy message board…it all works! Use it!



3. Good lighting.

Lighting is important. Don’t underestimate this. This has a subtle effect on moods and energy levels. Providing decent lighting for your kids will help a lot!
It is recommended to use natural lighting as much as possible. Put your kids next to a window to do their homework when possible. Also having task lighting is great! Grab a simple, inexpensive, small lamp that your child can set on the table when they work.


4. Necessary supplies.

There are the general items that come up time and again for schooling. Try to keep the basics close by to reduce the time and energy needed to go searching.
Some of these items might be : Scissors, crayons or colored pencils, tape, pencils, pencil sharpener, erasers, dictionary (although if they use a computer a digital one will be their choice ), and pad of paper.
For my youngest I also have a timer and clock to help with time management. ( Levi…you better get that done before 3pm or ELSE—not really, but you get the idea) (hey Levi…if you can get that done in 15 minutes you can have a 5 minute video game time.)
For my oldest I also let her have headphones, a dry erase board, and some fun pens. Headphones for listening to music, dry erase board to take notes, and the fun pens…well, just for fun .


5. Trash.

This is mostly for permanent spaces. Put a trash can near their “zone”. It’ll make you happier…I promise!


6. Snacks.

I’m a believer in snacks. And especially for my kids while they are doing their dreaded homework. We grab their favorite healthy snacks and stock the snack bar. While they are doing their homework they can have all the healthy snacks they want. They love it!
Rules we have: healthy snacks only, eating only in the homework zone, MUST be working at the same time!
You might not be able to have an entire snack area BUT…think about letting them have something special to snack on during homework time.


7. fun!

Homework stinks. It’s the worst thing a kid thinks they will ever have to do. Next to chores, of course. Yes, they will learn the ways of adulthood soon…for now, help relieve the torture a bit by providing something fun in their “zone”.
Levi picked out his bin colors, his garbage can (a frog), and his timer (a rooster). He also picked out the chair colors and his notebooks.
Katie added twinkle lights, and décor to her area. She modpodged her notebooks and has smelly candles in her area (her area to be shown off next week!) Each of them have added their own style. It makes the space “theirs”.
Perhaps you can allow your kids to decorate their notebooks, pick out a lamp, or maybe just get some smelly erasers. Whatever you can do to put some fun into the boring…do it!


8. Calm.

Every kid is different. Some need complete quiet to study and some can handle chaos! Mostly, you should try to find a balance. Somewhere calm is the ticket. Doesn’t have to be perfectly quiet. But, probably not at a Lady GaGa concert either. If you see them distracted often find a way to cut the distraction. Change homework time, location, or environment. Sometimes something as simple as changing seats, turning off the t.v., or turning on some soft music does the trick. And…providing headphones might be a good solution (but not always!). We do that for  my daughter because the noise of the house is distracting…music dulls that noise.


homework zone


With school about to start in many areas (some in full swing already) be sure your kids have the tools to be successful with their homework!

Go knock off as many items off this list as you possibly can! Go! Go!

Nellie is the founder of NellieBellie, and takes basically every photograph you've ever seen on this site. She also runs our web design business, the Savvy Sites Administration.


  1. Janel

    August 8, 2012 at 7:30 pm


  2. Meeha

    August 8, 2012 at 6:03 am

    Great organisation, Janel! You are right – good lighting is key! And thinking about FUN is key to keeping the little ones alert during school hours :)

  3. Vyan

    August 8, 2012 at 1:23 am

    Hey Janel
    That spot looks familiar. Did I not spend time there on someone’s laptop last year writing message to home?
    It looks very very good – well done.

  4. Bella

    August 7, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    Awesome workspace for the kiddos!! It’s bright, cheery and looks like a super fun place to study. Err fun and study in the same sentence? I dunno in that space I think it’s possible :) BTW love the froggy lamp!!

  5. Maury @ Life on Mars

    August 7, 2012 at 8:16 am

    Brilliant! What a great workspace! I’m sure that’ll get PLENTY of use in the coming months!

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