When it comes to kids doing their homework, two conflicting issues need to be addressed. They need a place to be quiet so they can concentrate, yet they need to be close enough to you in case they need assistance.
The child’s bedroom is not the best choice because it’s better to associate the bedroom with relaxation only. The kitchen table isn’t the ideal spot, either, because the area is too distracting with afternoon activity.
The best place for concentrating on homework would be a corner area specifically dedicated to it, perhaps nearby in a den or family room, or a room off to the side of the kitchen such as an unused breakfast nook. One clever suggestion is to turn an unused walk-in closet or utility closet into a study alcove that can be closed off when not in use.
Install a counter or desk that is the right height for your child. Make sure there is plenty of table space to spread out books and papers, or to build projects.
Include a comfortable, padded chair for sitting at least an hour at a time. If you use a rolling chair, make sure it is on carpeting, so the chair won’t roll out from under your child.
Use natural lighting whenever possible for less eye strain. It’s also best to encourage getting homework done while it is still daylight. For evenings, provide a floor lamp for backlighting in addition to a daylight-simulating desk lamp to focus on the homework itself.
Desk drawers or plastic storage drawer towers will keep your child’s finished papers, books and supplies in order. Organize pens and smaller supplies with a kitchen drawer utensil organizer. Don’t forget that the walls can be used as an active space, with artwork, a dry-erase board for reminders, space to put up file holders, shelves, or hooks.
If more than one child will be using the homework station, try to make a space for each child, and make sure there is an adequate buffer zone so each can concentrate without elbowing the other one.
Include a background element in the homework nook that blocks out distractions. Try a bubbling aquarium or fountain, a white noise generator, soft music or sounds, or even the hum of a desk fan to help them keep focused within their own space.
“Do your homework,” for any child, is usually not an easy task. Make sure they’ve had a snack, and help them to ‘shake off’ the school day so they can settle down to work.
When the school year ends, help your child go through everything in their backpack and desk, clearing out old papers and supplies, keeping only the most special things in a folder or box in their room, and get their study station ready for the next year.