We are a home schooling family, which for us means we have a dedicated school space. Although not all lessons take place in the “school room” (many happen at the dining room table or in the kitchen!) it is important to have a school space. But this is true for families that do not home school as well.
While we don’t all have the option of a dedicated room for a school/study space (ours is actually a finished sunroom off our family room), it is important to designate an area for school and studying. The table at certain hours, kitchen bar, or a corner desk…any are viable options for a designated school space.
The benefit here is simple. When kids are in that designated school/study space, they know it is time to work. Here are some tips for a school or study space:
- Table or desk & chair – It is very important that the space for schoolwork provides a proper writing surface and a good chair that will keep kids comfortable and in good posture for writing, reading, or computer work.
- Adequate lighting – Task lighting is essential, especial for kids who are doing their homework or studying in the evenings. You can pick up inexpensive (under $20) lighting options that still look trendy or fit with your decor at most Marts.
- Quiet – While people will try to tell you they study better with their iPod or headphones, the research simply does not back this up. The space for doing schoolwork needs to be quiet. If you want to add music to cover other household noise or help you child focus, introduce them to classical or instrumental music. Simply eliminating words and keeping the volume at a background level will enhance learning and retention over other music.
- Supplies – In the school area it is a good idea to have back up school supplies such as pencils, pens, colored pencils, crayons, or makers (depending on kids’ ages), erasers, rulers, glue sticks, notebooks/paper, and other supplies your child uses regularly. If you have the money, consider investing in a computer for the area or if your family has laptops, a wireless printer. This has helped us tremendously.
- Storage – Inexpensive bookshelves can be refinished to provide stylish storage. Instead of spending money on baskets use plastic dish bins (under $2 each at the local Mart when they are full price!). Kids can decorate with markers or stickers, or you can spray paint them for a more grown-up look. This will allow for a place for loose paper, library books, books you own, flashcards, and other supplies.
- White Board – If you home school, this is a must, but we have found this beneficial even when we didn’t home school. Younger ones can practice writing or spelling (our kids loved studying for spelling tests with mock-tests at home on the white board). Older kids can work through math problems or brainstorm ideas for a paper.