Homework…why does it even exist? Torture, that’s why. Teachers across America go home and just laugh hysterically about issuing homework to their students on a daily basis and the dynamic it creates in each household. JUST KIDDING! We were once teachers and we can assure you that homework is not loved by many, including the school staff; but alas, it is issued.
Just like school, children need a structured environment for homework. At first, we as parents are in charge of setting up this environment to promote organization and time management. Our hopes are that with time our children then can become responsible students and learn to continue the routine on their own and adjust it to their needs accordingly.
It’s time for a designated homework spot! Having a spot helps your child stay focused and reminds them they have work to do. Talk with your child about why it is important to have a designated spot (comfortable, material already there, plenty of space, etc.) You may choose the spot for them when they are just starting out (Kindergarten, early grades) and then slowly let them find what works for them, within reason. (side note: my perfect homework spot was spread out in the middle of the living room, on the floor, right in front of the radio.) The interesting thing about homework spaces is they are very individualized. You may need no distractions, with complete silence, while your child may need to be where there is background noise and other things happening to stay focused.
For an elementary age student, who might have some questions or need some help staying focused, help them “choose” a spot that is centrally located, so you can keep up with your to-do list and aren’t stopped down for the hour or so it takes to do homework.
For older children, ones that are used to the homework routine, your main goal is to get them to have a specific place for their supplies, calendar, and project information. Your child may work best at a desk, the kitchen table (with a drawer and area destined for supplies,etc.), living room floor (with a basket under the coffee table containing all the supplies), or in their bedroom.
Once you guys have picked a spot, talk about what types of materials your child will need to complete their homework. Get a little closable bin from Ikea, Target, or even the dollar store for their supplies (colored pencils, highlighters, pens/pencils, eraser, ruler, markers, etc.). This is all to ensure you guys aren’t spending 20 minutes searching for supplies and getting frustrated.
Another great item for older children could be the expanding file folder to keep formula charts, spelling lists/word walls, and past assignments and tests in order to be prepared for all assignments, including finals. This is totally prepping them with how to study at the college level.
Don’t forget to have an extra charger in their materials bin for their technology devices. Conversely, that technology can be a black-hole, so make sure you guys have discussed rules around using technology during homework time and come up with some structure.
Peak’s Pick: If you don’t have an office space in your house, a folding table may be the best bet for you! This one seems perfect, fold it up, built in bins, all those little bells and whistles previously discussed. http://www.ikea.com/us/en/catalog/products/70290223/