Regardless of if your kids are in public, private, home or elsewhere…they probably have homework! And, you have someplace they do that homework at. 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 for them to have the most success while getting their homework done.
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. If you have multiple children at the same space try to give them each a bit of room. Better yet would be if you can give them separate spaces. This will help decrease distractions and arguing.
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! Try to keep their supplies in easy to find places to cut out the amount of time they spend searching.
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.
Think about the supplies your kids need to be successful in the environment you have put them in and supply them to the best of your ability.
This is mostly for permanent spaces. Put a trash can near their “zone”. It’ll make you happier…I promise!
Snacks are almost essential for good homework zones. Grab their favorite healthy snacks and stock a snack bar. While they are doing their homework they can have all the healthy snacks they want. They will love it and stay energized.
Rules to think about: 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.
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”.
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!
Every kid is different. Some need complete quiet to study and some can handle chaos! Mostly, you should try to find a balance. A calm location in your home is the ticket. It 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 by changing 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!)…music dulls that noise.
Take this list and work towards as many of these items as you can. Get your kids set up for homework success with these simple steps. You will have a smoother transitition after-school!