As the school year begins, so does another semester of book reports, essays, homework and test prep! Parents: Do you have a game plan ready to help set your student up for academic success this year? Is there a designated quiet area – aka “study room” – in your home? Children and teens need a separate space away from distractions where they can fully focus on their homework and projects, whether it be practicing for a spelling test or the ACT. Bedrooms are usually cluttered with dirty clothes, game stations, dressers, toys, and other distractions that can make it difficult to concentrate. Sometimes parents like to use a central space, such as the kitchen table, but usually the kitchen is an area of high traffic and loud noises. Family activity is buzzing all around and frequent refrigerator trips break concentration as well. Set your child up for success this year and increase their ability to achieve better grades by creating a study room right in your own home!
Designing the Perfect Study Environment
Achieving a calm environment for your student is proven to make a significant difference in their ability to maintain consistency and be productive throughout the entire school year. Stocking the study room with all the necessary supplies eliminates wasting time hunting down items from around the house! Make sure this space is supplied with important tools for projects (extra paper, markers, poster board, glue, etc.), a bookshelf, comfortable reading nook, writing utensils, stapler, tape, printer, laptop and of course a desk. Keeping everything organized contains their mess in one location without having to track down missing items. The desk doubles as a space for a computer as well as a flat, hard surface to work on. One tip that we love from Extra Space Storage is creating a room that overlooks nature. “Help students stay motivated for more than just the first few weeks of back to school by letting nature inspire them! Creating a kids study room near windows is not only easier on the eyes, but it also aids in maintaining focus longer.” Be sure to include a bulletin board or a white board to feature inspirational quotes and keep track of important deadlines.
Constructing A Safe-Zone
Study rooms are no longer just for one child or working alone. We suggest considering planning for a room that will facilitate hosting small study groups, friends working on projects together, or even accommodating a tutor. Design the space with safety and productivity in mind – no sharp corners or dangerous objects. Keep the study room open with plenty of room to easily move around, a table and comfortable seating. Bean bag chairs and throw pillows are an easy addition for seating and color. Proper lighting and a door without a lock are also key. For inspiration on creating this homework spot with your child, here are some ideas from The Spruce that will inspire your own study room. Encourage your child to invite their friends to come over and use their cool study space together! To get the school year started on the right foot, here’s Yelp’s list of the top tutoring services in the Chicago-area. It’s never too early to begin working with a tutor!
An Organized Room Earns The “A”
Instead of school papers, books, backpacks and supplies scattered throughout the house, a designated study space provides your child with a consistent place to keep all of their school items organized. No more searching for a missing field trip form or last night’s math assignment! With a room solely designed for studying and homework, you can teach your child how to stay tidy and create a system from an early age. “A room that’s cluttered and disorganized is not conducive to studying. To encourage children to keep their study room in order, provide ample storage space for homework supplies. Bookshelves keep textbooks, references and other books within easy reach. Your kids will be more likely to return books to their proper places if they have a bookcase or shelf of their own,” suggests SF Gate.. Another way to foster organization is by including a calendar wall with chalkboard paint for reminders about upcoming due dates, events, and important tasks. Be sure to hang a whiteboard to help your student visually see and stay on top of upcoming deadlines!
The Whole Family Will Benefit
A study room doesn’t only have to be a space solely for your student, this space works for adults too. Parents returning to college or making their way through grad school also need a space to study and work on assignments away from home distractions! The “home office” tends to be a distracting place for learning because spouses and children think of it as an “open door” policy to walk in and start a conversation. A cell phone ringing in the office sparks a sense of urgency to answer it, same with email notifications. Whereas, if there is a separate study room, the phone can easily be left in another room of the house. Educators value having a quiet space at home to grade papers or write lesson plans. A quiet zone will serve everyone in any career as a perfect area to grow and continue learning. Even if you have young children, like the one family featured in this Wall Street Journal article, your family will enjoy benefits early on. “They were planning ahead: Currently only 9-year-old Caden, the oldest, does school work on one of four installed desktops. Each workstation has two electrical outlets above and two below, as well as its own data line and USB plug. The room also has a Wi-Fi booster.” See how these families have grown into their study spaces and how the entire family utilizes the space, not just for homework.
Musical Study Rooms
Is your child or teen enrolled in middle school band this year? Or trying out for a prestigious music program such as Juilliard in New York City? Does your home need a space dedicated to both storing and practicing instruments? A musical study room can serve as the perfect spot for kids to practice their instrument as loudly as they need to! Keep the clutter of instruments and the noise level of the home to a minimum with a musical practice room.
College Test Prep
Are you a parent of a high school student? In addition to a study room being used for study groups and group projects, it can also serve as a room for college test prep. Standardized SAT/ACT testing prep require extra study time and focus. This room will help your high school student stay on task with their long-term goals of getting into their dream college, improving test scores, and writing college application essays in peace. What’s more important than investing in your child’s career? Not sure where to begin planning your study space? These five tips are a great place to start! Be sure to work alongside your high schooler as you design their homework space to make sure they like it! Don’t forget to include areas for testing prep materials, a college vision board, and a place to plug in computers.
Every Child Learns Differently
Learning styles are unique to every individual. Whether you want to improve a space that already exists or build something that will foster learning, the design starting point should be taking a look at your child’s academic needs and abilities. ADDITUDE suggests, “If you’re continually reminding your child to sit still, try a different approach. Some students work well standing up, completing homework on the kitchen counter. Others like the living room couch, with the help of a lap desk.” A homework space should center on the type of environment conducive to your kids’ learning preference. By creating spaces dedicated to the educational needs of a child, their learning capabilities increase exponentially and keep them focused, making it easier to get homework assignments completed.