Create A Homework Spot

It is already back-to-school time this week for some students, and being in Vermont, where students have about three weeks left of summer, it seems so early!


To help all my students prepare for starting a new school year, today I wanted to talk about creating a homework spot.


There are some key components to a successful homework spot:


1. Keep it as distraction-free as possible. This means that a spot in a high-traffic area is not a good choice. While many families instinctively choose the dining room table or kitchen counter as a homework spot, this can lead to many distractions, including snacking, other family members' conversations, younger siblings, pets, televisions, radios, and screens.


Instead, choose a space off to the side where you can put a small table and a chair. Or, put a desk or table in your child's room. Ask your child where they would feel the most comfortable. Of course, there are caveats: I know many parents choose a family space rather than their child's room because they want to monitor their child to make sure homework is getting done. If that makes more sense for your family, make sure you turn off the TV or radio, keep conversations to a minimum, and take other steps to help ensure a calm, quiet space for homework. This may take some adjusting for everyone, but especially for ADHD students, or other students who struggle with focus, creating this kind of space can be a game changer.


2. Start the routine on day one to get used to this spot. If you set up a homework space before school starts, and then remind your child to use it every day after school, using that spot will become a habit.


3. Gather the appropriate supplies. Students often need a pencil with a good eraser for doing homework. For older students, lined paper, blank paper, a highlighter, and note cards are all good supplies to keep in stock. They may also need a spot with good wifi or a solid internet connection and a plug so they can work on their laptop, if they have one, for online assignments. If you have a home printer, make sure you stock up on paper and ink.


4. Make it comfortable. Is the lighting good? Is the chair relatively comfortable? Is there a fan nearby if it is hot or a blanket they can use if it is cold? If they feel comfortable, they are more likely to do their work.


Wishing you a successful start to this new school year!