Kids today are busier than ever with school, sports and social activities, and even their at-home time often comes with a heavy load of homework. That's why it's important to set up an organized study space at home that students can use to do homework or prepare for tests. Whether it's a designated area or a special nook in a smaller home, making study time a priority will help your child achieve academic success.
A Quiet Corner
While anyone can sit their child at a kitchen table or in the living room to do homework, those high traffic locations often provide too many distractions for serious study. Even a child's bedroom isn't always an ideal location for homework. A comfortable workspace is key, but short of giving a child an entire home office, what's the best option for families who live in close quarters? For those forced to set up a study area in a high traffic area of the home, guidelines may need to be implemented to keep other family members from distracting the student while he or she is doing homework. Families who have an extra bedroom in their home could consider making it into a study zone. Either way, the homework area should be cell phone-free, and there's no way a TV should be within earshot.
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A Smooth Workspace
If there's room for a desk or small table in the study space, your student will be able to spread homework materials out. Since that's not always possible, another option is to purchase a portable lap desk. If a child must work at a public area like the dining room table, at least make sure the area is clutter-free. For larger areas, modular workspaces are a great option because you can add to them as kids grow older and their needs change.
Let There Be Light!
Good lighting is one of the most crucial components of an at-home study station. Since homework assignments for older kids often go into the evening hours, it is important that a homework space has sufficient lighting. Invest in a really good desk lamp or overhead lighting to help your child see the light of day when it comes to schoolwork. It's imperative to steer clear of florescent lighting (you know, like the kind they have at school) and go for more natural light.
Did you know that certain colors are conducive to learning? Psychological color studies have shown that children in elementary school grades benefit from the stimulation of warm colors (think yellow-orange and peach), while older children concentrate better when surrounded by cooler hues, like light blue, green or violet. If your child's study space is located in an area that you can enhance with paint, consider painting the walls a cool shade to give him or her an edge with studying.
Related: Must-Have Back To School Supplies
Supplies on Demand
A study space has to be organized, and that means there should be a running list of supplies in stock. One of the most important things to do is to load up on the essentials, such as pens, pencils, paper, staplers and calculators. In addition, if your child needs access to a computer for homework, a laptop (or even a desktop if you have a dedicated desk in the workspace) is a must-have. Make sure you have plenty of printer ink cartridges on hand, because nothing is worse than attempting to print out a book report or an essay the night before it's due, only to find that the ink is out. Your child's teacher will equate that excuse to "The dog ate my homework," so plan ahead when it comes to study supplies.
Victoria Miller is a freelance entertainment writer who also covers recreation and leisure activities in the Philadelphia area. Her work can be found on Examiner.com.
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