School is back: Creating the proper study environment?

08 Aug
English: Don't waste your time and do your hom...

Homework time?! Photo credit: Wikipedia.

This morning’s article on Parenting, from the Washington Post got me thinking…

And I’m thankful that Nicole Anzia [freelance writer; she can be reached at] took a stab at it: “Finding a space where your child can complete his or her homework without getting totally stressed out, or stressing you out, is difficult. Don’t be discouraged if the first place you choose isn’t perfect; this will be an ongoing and evolving process throughout your child’s life as a student. But having a space set up and creating a homework routine during the first week of school will help smooth the transition from summer’s hot, hazy days to fall’s hurried, homework days.”


Homework (Photo credit: TJCoffey)

According to Anzia, there are few points that MUST be addressed, and since school days for my 2 elementary kids has just begun, I hope I’m on the right track, and will, for sure, try to follow her ‘advice’: [I’ve added my personal comments after the ‘important-points’ suggested by the author]

1. Choose the right location

We’re fortunate enough to have an extra ‘lunch table’, in a separate room, with a framed world map, a large wall clock and a buffet with drawers. The whole area has been defined for ‘homework’ and school assignments: reading response; school poster preparation, coloring, cutting and pasting [I’ve got a 2nd grader and a KG5].

2. Find and organize supplies

The buffet drawers were turned into ‘storage space’ for their school supplies. Backpacks are kept on the floor, against the wall, and handy, when they’re needed. Plastic containers/organizers are a must-have to keep their pencils, coloring gear, scissors; glue sticks IN PLACE AND EASY TO FIND. 😮


Homework (Photo credit: christinepollock)

3. Create a Go-To spot

Anzia also points out that “Another advantage of a designated homework space is that you can have a set surface where you and your kids can post scheduling reminders and deadlines. You could hang a magnetic board or bulletin board, or use stick-on chalkboard or dry-erase boards that can be easily removed in seconds, without damaging the wall.”

For that, unfortunately, I had to resource to our kitchen area, where we mounted a white board on the wall, with our cell phone numbers [for the sitter, when both mom and dad are at work!]. The board displays each child’s chores, a brief schedule and any necessary reminder…. The kitchen wall is also the place for an oversized interactive calendar [months, days, seasons, weather and special dates]. Our oldest son, now 7,5 is the one in charge of changing the dates/information on the calendar, every morning.

4. Try out and reassess

This is the author’s final suggestion. Try things out, and after the initial month or so, reassess the results. Change. Improve. Get feedback from the kids. See what works and what needs to be fixed.

We’re on week 1, for this school year… let’s wait and see what’s in store for us… we’re all hopeful… maybe ‘homework time’ will be a breeze… who knows? 😮


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4 responses to “School is back: Creating the proper study environment?

  1. empressnasigoreng

    August 8, 2013 at 11:51 pm

    Mine seem to choose to do their homework in places like on the floor in front of the heater (it is winter where we are) or lying on the bed etc no matter how enticing we make their official study areas!


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      August 9, 2013 at 9:02 am

      Well… sometimes I find my son doing his homework on my [narrow] dresser, standing up in front of the mirror, but he tells me it’s comfortable… 😮 What can one do? We may offer the options, show good reasoning, but at the end, I believe it’s something the child needs to realize on its own. Thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts – much appreciated.


  2. Melissa van Herksen

    August 8, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Raquel, thanks for sharing. In our house Luka was very excited to have a desk like mommy…so I made a mini-desk in my office for him. It has his supplies on it. He even labeled it “homework station.” My office is quiet and when he is working I am usually working with him so it doesn’t distract me. He feels quite important for having his own “real estate.” I will send you a photo. It was very easy to do. Mounted it like a shelf and bought a cute stool to match.


    • 3rdCultureChildren

      August 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

      Melissa – I wish I could be as organized as you are when I grow up! 😮 I love what you did for your office, and the way you have the kids ‘play area’ organized… I’m not like that, unfortunately… Luckily, we have the ‘lunch area’ that nobody uses, so we ‘converted’ that into the kids ‘homework area’. They still have a ‘study/library/play room, with their books, board games, the 3 bean bags and a TV for movies. This year Cesar has to get serious about school, he’s not with Ms Pato, they’ve assigned a different teacher, so, we’re waiting to see how he does [he’s the type that needs to be super-challenged to perform!]

      I’m sure that Luka’s ‘study’ will get him lots of A’s! 😮 He’s a first grader now!!!
      Take care and many hugs from Los Mirandas!



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