5 Ideas For A Great Home Learning Zone
Get your child off to a good start this school year with homework areas and strategies that reduce the frenzyby Catherine Funkhouser
As children head back to school, it’s back to reality for parents too. Now is the time to organize our homes for the homework that’s soon to come. Advance planning and a few simple strategies, the experts say, can help boost productivity and reduce the frenzy. Parents out there know what I’m talking about — there’s that special time of day when you’re monitoring homework, making dinner and maybe trying to entertain a rambunctious younger sibling, all before rushing off to sports practice or dance class. So take a deep breath and try these expert-approved tips at home.
Divide homework time between the kitchen table and the home office, for example. And Dolin says parents don’t need to spend a lot preparing a space. “It doesn’t have to be spectacular. The thing that matters most is that there aren’t a lot of distractions in the room,” she says.
To ease mobility among the various spaces, organize school supplies (pens, highlighters, scissors and such) in a portable container. Dolin suggests a plastic shower caddy from Bed, Bath & Beyond. Here the supplies are cleverly positioned on a rotating lazy Susan. Corralling all the supplies in one place before the child sits down also helps avoid unnecessary interruptions later. A portable supply caddy or bag is also great if younger siblings often do homework from the soccer field sidelines.
The homework station here is set away from the basement’s main entertainment area (and distractions).
But here’s the thing: Once everything is lovingly in place, your child actually will have to sit and work. Remember that famous line from Field of Dreams, “If you build it, he will come”? It’s not always that smooth. Often, the hardest part for kids is beginning. Dolin is a big fan of timers (she especially likes the visual Time Timer tool). She recommends setting the timer for five or 10 minutes of concentrated work effort, what she dubs “5 Minutes of Fury” or “The Tolerable 10.” The strategy helps kids over that initial resistance: “They need to get over the hurdle of just getting started, and then they can keep going,” she says.
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