It’s back-to-school time, and for kids everywhere, this means tons of homework. It also means tons of homework for all the parents out there who will spend the next several months constantly herding kids away from the temptation of distracting electronics, begging them nonstop to please finish that book report or complete tonight’s lineup of algebra problems before bed. This can be an impossible endeavor in today’s world. Where can kids do their homework without distractions?
Put them in their room and they’ll soon be on their iPhones, texting or playing games. Set them up in the living room and the television will beckon. The kitchen gives you an opportunity to keep an eye on them, but it’s right in the midst of tons of household activity and noise. In addition to this, books and paperwork get lost and strewn about the house.
Your best bet to solve all of these issues? Create a homework room.
The first steps to planning a homework room project will be to figure out a budget. Budgeting any home renovation project will help you set a financial threshold, but it’s also an excellent tool to assist you in figuring out the “must-haves” from the “wants” in the project. Sure; it would be great to include a movie projector and a huge screen for your kids to watch the National Geographic channel and “educational” films, but how much do you want to bet they’ll simply end up crashed in there watching Nickelodeon? Instead, focus on including the homework room must-haves that delineate it from every other space in the house. (We’ll go over some of those must-haves in this list.)
Your homework room will either involve converting an existing room into a study space or building some type of addition to your house. Take some time to consider the pros and cons of each. Do you have an extra guest room that would make a great study area for the kids? Is there an unused porch or patio that could be closed in and used as a homework room? When you plan the location out, consider that it needs to be close enough that you can keep an eye on them to ensure they’re not playing iPad games, while far enough away from all the household action that they’re not constantly distracted.
An ideal homework room needs to be very quiet — preferably away from all street noise and people coming and going from the house. Many people remodel their unused basements into a playroom for the kids; consider turning yours into a homework room instead. Separate Space for Each Child Because the goal is to maximize production and minimize distraction, plan out a homework room that will include a separate work area for each child. This will give them the privacy to get their work done without the prying, teasing, or playing that inevitably breaks out between siblings that are placed too close together.
In addition to separate spaces, make sure each work area is comfortable. Just like adults, kids need properly-positioned desks and chairs that are ergonomic and perfectly suited for good posture and pain-free sitting as they get their work done. Whether you build in work surfaces or bring in desks, keep in mind that not just any table and chairs will do.
A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind, and you want your kids to be able to move easily through their assignments after they settle down into their homework room. This means eliminating visual distractions by providing them a place to stash away belongings. It will also give them an easy way to locate the supplies they need to get things done. Hooks to hang backpacks, book shelves, specific drawers for pens, pencils, paper, and other supplies, and bins to stash folders, printouts, and pending or finished work will help keep your kids on track.
With the proper planning, a homework room can be a true game-changer for your daily after-school routine with the kids. It might not solve their Instagram addiction, but at least they can be making the honor roll as they post ridiculous kitty cat face and princess selfies throughout the day!