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Setting up a homework station for students

July 26, 2010

As the end of summer draws near, it’s a good idea to start thinking about the upcoming school year, and how to best help children succeed.
Success in school is a marriage of many factors. Proper study habits and continued education at home are some of those factors.
“The assignment of homework, over time, serves to foster the kinds of qualities that are critical to learning — persistence, diligence, and the ability to delay gratification,” said Janine Bempechat, author of “Getting Our Kids Back on Track: Educating Kids for the Future” (Jossey-Bass, 2000). “These [skills] become increasingly necessary as students graduate to higher levels of scholarship in middle school, high school and beyond.”
To facilitate the homework process and good study habits at home, create a study, homework area at home that can help students along the way. Here’s what can be included.

Desk

A desk is the centerpiece of any homework area. Think about the purpose of the desk and what activities it should be able to handle.
You may want the desk to be able to grow with the child. Do you envision it holding a desktop computer or a laptop at some time?
Keep these factors in mind when purchasing a desk.
Size is an important component, too. A desk that is too tall or large may not fit into the space you have in your home, and it simply may not be comfortable for the student using it.
He or she should be able to sit at the desk with feet flat on the floor and arms clearing the top of the desk.
If placing a computer monitor on the desk, it should be eye level and a foot or more away from the person using it.

Quiet

Most students find a quiet place is conducive to studying. Therefore, the study area should be placed in a quiet part of the home.
Is there a spare bedroom that can be used? What about a nook in a finished basement?
The student’s own bedroom may not be the best place, because he or she may be distracted by other things in the room, such as televisions, phones or toys.

Proximity

Study supplies, such as pens, paper, reference books and other items, should be located nearby to the homework station so that it does not necessitate a trip into another room to retrieve something.
Consider a desk that has drawers for small supplies. A bookcase or storage container placed next to the desk can house larger items.
Allowing for the fewest distractions possible, including getting up and leaving the study area for supplies, are ideas for promoting good study habits.

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