5 Essentials for a Smart “Homework Station”

posted: 08/21/15
by: Blythe Copeland

You can call it a homework station, a study space, or just a desk--but whatever term you use, the idea of providing your children with a spot to complete their schoolwork is key to their academic success. You don't have to have a huge house to have a homework station (a small desk in the corner of a bedroom works just fine), and by including these five essentials you can give your kids a space that may even get them excited about homework.

1. A clear, uncluttered workspace.

The whole point of a dedicated homework station is giving your kids a clean, clear place to work when it's time to buckle down on their assignments. Choose a desk that gives them room to spread out textbooks, notebooks, or workbooks, with plenty of nearby storage space for extra erasers, pencils, a calculator, and other miscellaneous supplies. Your dining room table may offer just the right amount of space, but you want a spot where they don't need to shuffle papers and books together every night when dinner is ready. Set up a dedicated space in their bedroom, your office, the family room, or what used to be the playroom so your kids can stay focused. (Desk: Land of Nod)

2. A comfortable chair.

They sat all day in those plastic or metal chairs in the classroom -- make sure their desk chair at home is more comfortable. Look for one with plenty of padding and and adjustable height options so it can grow with them. The right chair is even more critical for older kids who spend more time studying; make sure the chair you choose for your junior high or high schooler is as ergonomic as one you would pick for yourself, taking into account their height, weight, and how their posture will look when using the computer. (Chair: Pottery Barn)

3. Art supplies (and a nice storage caddy for them).

Minimize the hassle of homework for younger kids by keeping everything they might need for quick projects close at hand: this means crayons, markers, glue, glitter, pompoms, a ruler, colored pencils, stickers, and construction paper should all be nearby. Another option: Store often-used items in a portable art caddy so your kids can move their favorite supplies to a bigger workspace when it's time to put the finishing touches on that science fair project--and then put the entire set back at their homework station when they're done. (Caddy: The Container Store)

4. Plenty of light.

Whether your kids are filling out math worksheets, finishing their reading chapters, or working complicated chemistry equations, they need a bright task light to combat eye strain (and, once they're old enough for all-night study sessions, help keep them from nodding off). Overhead lighting is important, too, but a desk lamp they can direct right at their work will help them be more productive and efficient. (Light: Ikea)

5. A calendar.

No matter how old your kids are, a calendar is an essential part of their study space. Older students can use a pocket sized book to keep track of their assignments and deadlines, while younger kids will benefit from a wall or desktop calendar to keep track of everything from the math fair dates to when it's Wear Your Pajamas to School Day. This should be a separate calendar from the one you keep for your family; encourage kids to fill it out, color-code it, and reference it regularly. (Calendar: Etsy)