There's no single homework spot that is effective for everyone, but follow these guidelines to create a study space that will work for your child:
- Set the scene
Is your child a lone studier or does he need more activity to concentrate? For solitude seekers, set up a space in a bedroom or an out-of-the-way spot. For kids who thrive in a busier atmosphere or like to involve you during homework time, carve out a permanent corner of the kitchen or family room for studying. Try to keep distractions to a manageable level by steering clear of family thoroughfares.
- Make the space comfortable (but not TOO comfy)
Pick a spot that will your keep your child relaxed, focused, and alert. She may like to read on her bed, but if she falls asleep, she won't complete her book report. A cushioned chair might be a better bet!
Ideally, your child's work surface should be about waist-height. When he sits down, see if he can rest his elbows on the table without hunching up his shoulders. He should be able to put his feet flat on the floor (even if he doesn't always sit that way). If his chair isn't the right height, have him sit on a pillow or tuck a shoebox under his feet to help them reach the floor. Slip a rolled-up blanket behind your child's back to keep it from getting sore. If your child has a computer, position the monitor about 18-30" away. An anti-glare screen will help keep his eyes fresh.
- Light it up
You child will get tired and distracted easily if she has to squint at her books or can't see what she wrote. Try a combination of overhead light and a reading or desk lamp she can aim at the books or computer screen.
- Spread out
Make sure your child can arrange his work so that he's not drowning in a stack of papers. If he has a computer on the desk, position it off to the side to make space for pen-and-pencil work too.
- Stock up
What supplies does your child always hunt for? Scissors? A Calculator? Paper? Try to keep supplies all in one spot so she won't have to look for essential items. Have your child keep a calendar, to-do list, or planner of some kind so that she always knows what she has to do and when.
- Organize it
Have your child use boxes, drawers, organizers — whatever he prefers — to keep his stuff tidy. Hang a bulletin board and/or wall calendar to help your child keep track of due dates and handy reminders.
Your child can personalize her space with posters, pictures, artwork, or any other meaningful decor. Since she'll spend some time there, she may as well enjoy it. Plus, gazing at that photo of her dog could help generate a story or paper idea.
- Turn off any devices and the TV
Noise, TV, and anything that might interest your child more than his geography test is a distraction. Opt for background music or silence during studytime.