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How to set-up a Homework Station for better learning

by | Feb 9, 2021 | Home, Things we love | 1 comment

* This post is sponsored in part by CNA.

We have 2 little ladies in Primary School this year. It feels huge! We are slowly moving out of the baby and preschool season filled with playrooms, puppets, nap times and constant mess… into a new world of formal learning, peer pressure and growth that can’t simply be measured physically but rather emotionally. We are excited (and a little sad) but also TERRIFIED! Soon a cuddle in mama’s arms and a kiss on the head won’t be enough to make everything better. It’s a BIG, new, parenting learning curve. So, because we know there are many things beyond our control, we are taking steps to make the things we know we can help with, better! One of those… HOMEWORK! It can’t be avoided but also doesn’t need to be a battle. Lockdown taught us the importance of having a designated homework space. We tried a few variations last year and finally figured out how to set up a homework station that helped our girls learn better, work more efficiently, while minimising stress (for everyone.)

* Please note, this workspace was designed and planned to accommodate learning in the foundation phase (Gr R – Gr 3).

How To Set Up A Homework Station For Young Children

How to set-up a homework Station in 5 steps

1. Choose the right location

Young children are distracted easily. Some more than others. Whether you have a study, playroom or only a corner to spare in the dining room, be sure to choose a space away from the hustle and bustle of family life. It also needs to be well lit providing lots of natural light. No one can study if they can’t see properly. The size of the space depends on the age of your child and if they need to share. Make sure you have a large enough surface for books, counters, stationary, number cards and more.

Home study for a preschooler

We already had a playroom with a crafts table. Making a few changes would recreate this space into the perfect study corner but without losing our craft section either. We approached the wall as a blank canvas that could easily be filled with the theme or learning activity calling for attention that day/week. It would also provide much-needed storage for school supplies and educational aid we use regularly.

2. Invest in age-appropriate furniture

Once you’ve decided on a spot, you’ll need furniture. A comfortable desk and chair but nothing too relaxed. The aim is to stay focused, not fall asleep. School tables measure at more or less a child’s waist so that when they place their elbows on a desk, their shoulders won’t be pushed up creating bad posture and discomfort. Use the same criteria when selecting a home desk. Feet should be flat on the floor when looking at chair height.

If your little one needs to do homework late in the afternoon or in the evening, remember to add a desk light. (And just a little side-note as a reminder, you’re not a bad parent for running late or working.) Just always be sure to adjust your desk light preventing any distracting shadows from falling over books and papers.

3. Organise your homework station into sections

Storage is often overlooked when setting up a study space yet, it’s one of the most important aspects to keep in mind. Desks need to be kept clutter-free in order to work properly. Planning for the type of learning you’re little one will be experiencing helps improve efficiency too.

We organised our homework station into 4 zones:

  • A work surface: The desk for writing and “doing” – basically it’s the surface on which all work gets done.

Best Educational Learning Aid For Foundation Phase Learners

  • The homework wall: I bought a green chalkboard from TYPO years ago, just for fun. Now it’s very useful in writing down what needs to be done, important assignments like public speaking, test and tasks. It’s almost like a mini-calendar / planner / to-do list. It also works great when I explain new concepts to the girls, for practicing spelling and more. Painting a part of your wall with chalk paint will give the same benefit. I also added a few chalk tracing cards (available from Beary Brave) to help our Grade 1 practice her writing skills.

How To Make Homework Fun

  • Storage for items used often: Pencils, erasers, glue, a pair of scissors… Items that get used daily needs to be easily accessible. If possible, don’t use the stationery your child takes to school at home – something always gets left behind or goes missing somewhere… Have a “homework station stationery set” – only to be used at home.Organising School Stationery For Your Homework Station

Pinterest is full of bucket storage options. I love the idea so much and needed to make it part of our homework station. A simple rail shelf turned upside down gives me a place to hang our hook buckets, as well as a surface for fun extras like these Math Blocks from Harper + Sloane. We added a second shelf for books too. Daily reading is a must in our home.

How To Setup A Homework Station For Better Learning

  • Storage section: The top shelf – where we store all extra school stationery as well as everything needed for arts and crafts.

Organising Your Homework Station

4. Storage and supplies are key!

A homework space needs to be neat and tidy. Taking some time to think about storage options will not only help keep things in their place. It will also guide your children, teaching them where everything goes and encouraging them to maintain the system you have set in place. (Thank you The Home Edit – mama’s learning )

There’s also nothing worse than running out of glue unexpectedly, and we always seem to finish the last page of printer paper just as I need to print something important for school. Having a bit of back stock is a MUST! Keeping supplies in one spot will also help make life easier when needing to replace school stationery at the last minute – they never remember to tell you in time.

Clever Storage Solutions For Kids

Using clear storage bins makes it easier to keep track of everything and you’ll know when it’s time to buy new items. It also prevents waste. Out of sight… out of mind… and then one day I realise we have 15 sticks of glue.

A tip when trying to organise pencils, pens and other fun bits in rainbow order: Use small bins (as Clea and Joanna suggest) or if it’s not an option, make your own dividers using thick cardboard. I divided our bins into pencils and crayons, markers and wax roll-outs. I know the rainbow order is most likely to only last for these photos, but a mama can dream…

5. Lastly, make the homework station a device free zone (when possible)

Lockdown has our kids in front of many screens for far longer than we would like. We do however try our best to keep screen time to a minimum. When needed we let the girls use our devices for education and if it were to be on a regular basis I would invest in a tablet or iPad that can be placed within the study space when needed, and also easily removed when not.

How To Set Up A Study Corner At Home

A little bonus tip: Make it personal and pretty. But don’t go too far… Make it a space your little one enjoys and wants to spend time in but without using too many bright colours or cute distractions such as pictures and posters.

Quick list of suppliers we used when setting up a homework station:

  • Kids furniture: Our girls are still young and make use of the Dovetail STUDIO bench we bought 4 years ago when putting together the playroom. The DIY table (a simple piece of wood, sanded, varnished and secured to the wall using 2 L-brackets with a gusset) can easily be adjusted to the correct high as they’ve grown.
  • Hanging hook buckets: Available in tin or painted from Store & More.
  • Shelving: Short shelves – We bought ours a few years ago for use in Ava’s nursery. Similar shelves are available from Declan & Leah. Long shelf – Made by my husband. Builders Warehouse stock a variety of wood options and can cut the pieces to size. You’ll just need to assemble.
  • Storage bins: The Home Edit bug has bitten me, so when @Home announced they would be stocking Clea and Joanna’s storage bins, I had to see for myself. They are a BIG splurge but fit our homemade shelf perfectly.
  • Stationery: I’m sure your own mama probably told you… but CNA is the way to go when shopping for any school supplies. I remember buying my school stationery at our local branch in Klerksdorp year after year, and now it’s just as much fun getting everything we need for our girls too. (PS: They have extended their current “Back to School” special till the end of February.)

Cna Back To School Stationery Specials

  • Books, Educational Toys & Resources: This needs a blogpost all on its own. Takealot and Bargain Books have regular specials so I would recommend checking in on them from time-to-time but a quick list of places we like to shop at when looking for items that make learning fun and exciting for the girls include:

Timeless Toys: For the best local and international educational toys, games and puzzles.

Harper + Sloane: For amazing open-ended educational toys and aids. All made using wood and other natural materials.

Beary Brave by Nectar & Ink: For chalk tracing boards, sensory play (which makes learning fun) and reward charts.

Cabin Kids: Wooden number and alphabet cards, sand tracing trays (great for getting your little one to practice those spelling words), counting trays and felt balls (our girls enjoy using these as counters).

Busy Bean: Their spelling and sound boxes are incredible and available in Afrikaans. They also stock arts and crafts supplies and well as books and educational toys.

Have a look at our play + learn and gift guide section for more.

Hopefully, these tips have given you inspiration on how to set-up a homework station for your own kids. Maybe you already have one and can share a few of your own pointers too. Feel free to leave us a comment below. It takes a village…, even when it comes to getting homework done.

How To Set Up A Homework Station For Better Learning 1

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1 Comment

  1. Caley

    Absolutely STUNNING my friend – what a beautiful yet functional space for your precious girls. How amazing to know how much they are going to grow and learn in this space… x

    Reply

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