School is back in session for many of you and if you are some of the one starting school later this month, getting a head start on today’s topic can eliminate future headaches.

Today I’m talking about having a homework station. This is just a place where little Johnny or Susan can sit down and do their homework in peace. There are several reasons to do this. One, it helps to establish good habits. Two, it reduces distractions. These distractions can be from other people in the fam, things in the room or can be the distraction of having to search for items needed to complete homework.

So, the question is: What do I need to have in my homework station?

The answer: It depends.

The first thing you need is a surface to work on. for many this is a desk in their room. Think about all the distractions for a kid in their room. My advice? Put a desk somewhere where you can easily monitor homework time. My kids are ADHD and can’t handle a desk in their room. We just moved to a smaller house and don’t have room upstairs for a separate desk. They do their homework on the dining room table. This lead to some organizational issues, but those have since been minimized. Here’s how:

Besides a flat surface to work on, you should always keep the following on hand:

  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Erasers
  • Hand held pencil sharpener
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Graph paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Scissors
  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • White-out

Extras that you may need:

  • Student dictionary
  • Index cards
  • Posterboard – no more late night trips to Target for them!
  • Construction paper

It may seem like a lot, but if you are sitting down struggling to get through homework, the last thing you want to do is go searching for a pencil when the lead snaps.

Take all of the following and put them in a pencil box that ONLY YOU HAVE CONTROL OVER. It may seem like a little thing, but again, when you reallyreallyreally need a pencil or pen and you don’t have one because Johnny “borrowed” all the ones in the pencil box, you’ll see why.

The next part depends on how much space you have. If you have another room where you can set up a homework station, by all means do it. Then you have a place for supplies, for them to work and for papers to be filed.

Here’s a pic of my ideal homework station:

THE homework station

But then again, it would then imply that I had the rest of the Pottery Barn house to go with it. :)

If you don’t have a separate space for your supplies, here’s an easy fix – get a portable plastic file holder, put the pencil box in it and then get some hanging file  folders and file papers there. This is the solution I am using now and it’s working great. I bring out the tote when it’s homework time and put it in the closet or laundry room when done. Easy peasy.

Here’s a few other ideas:

If you are crafty, you can make a caddy. Here’s one from the site Roots & Wings Co:

You could also use something like this:

This one kinda reminds me of a picnic silverware carrier. Which might also work…

Remember, the key is that you have some sort of system in place. Then, tweak as necessary. :)

ETA: Candice, from Fashionably Organized (I know you remember her!)  reminded me of two more homework organizers: The Homework Caddy and The Catch All (which can be customized – very cool!).

One last thought – as I said, my kids have attention issues. I saw this while researching and am totally going to make my husband make one:

Brilliant!

Isn’t this a FANTASTIC idea? I think my kids might still get distracted by the stuff stuck to the board and it would be a pain to store, but I LOVE the isolation!!

The question is – Do you have a homework station? Do you use a caddy for supplies? Did you <gasp> make one? As always, leave it in the comments. :)

Who's that Spartan doing tai chi? It's me! It's me!

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18 Responses to Tip Tuesday – Do you have a homework station?

  1. 2ndChanceMoon says:

    My kids ech have their own baskets for homework they are working and all of the supplies. The baskets are stored on the bottom shelf of the wine rack in my kitchen! I have a small house so space is limited. But everything they need is in each basket. And I WANT that Pottery Barn homework station!

    • alanamorales says:

      I know, isn't it amazing? <swoon> And does it mean anything that the homework station is where the wine is kept? ;)

  2. Candice says:

    Alana,
    Don't forget the Homework Caddy it is awesome!!!! J and I love it. You can also use a Stuff Bucket.

  3. Thank you for these ideas. My son just started kindergarten and I would love to start getting him used to having a designated place for homework. He seems to get distracted a lot (he's 5) so I really like that board idea. Time for me to get working on this homework station, thanks!

  4. Ruthanne says:

    We have a small computer nook off of our kitchen area (really not big enough for a computer) that I use for the school supplies you suggested as well as a bill paying center. It's so easy… even my kiddos and husband can use it! I like the idea of the "parent's pencil box." I can't tell you how many times we've gone looking for an eraser that "magically" disappeared. Thanks for all your great suggestions Alana — keep 'em coming!

  5. Lois H says:

    I created something like this last year. It was awesome and such a help when it was time to do homework. I purchased one of those baskets they have in Walmart/Target for college students to store their shower items in at the dorms. It had a carry handle and different sized "pockets"
    We have pencils/pens, scissors, crayons, markers, etc. Everything is within reach and we put it on the table at homework time and put it away the rest of the time. The kids know that it is for schoolwork only and don't bother it otherwise.

  6. ModernMom says:

    I'm more domestic then I thought! My girls do have a homework station. All of our school supplies are housed ij a craft cuppoard beside the kitchen table. Saves lots of time each night when we don't have to hunt for paper, pencils etc. :) Still would like that Pottery Barn room!

  7. Melissa B. says:

    My kids always did their homework at the kitchen table. Even now, as college students, they gravitate to the kitchen when they're home. It's where all of us get serious work done.

    • alanamorales says:

      That's so cool! I don't think I ever did my homework at the table, but I know that my kids will never have a desk in their rooms. My son's fave place is the basement right now because there isn't anything to look at. Thanks for stopping by today!!

  8. penguinelk says:

    The teacher in me LOVES these ideas and am excited to start preschool learning at home! Growing up, my parents tried to get me to use the desk. Since I am so short, regular chairs are often uncomfortable (I'm only 4'11"). The best solution for me was a lap desk and pencil box. I think my busy boy will need a bit more structure though!

  9. Michael says:

    could you tell me the make of the desk in the pic above in the ideal homework workstation

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