Homework stations are structured workspaces for your child to complete their homework. They can look different in each household, but there are three key steps in creating a supportive work environment for your child.
The first step in planning a homework station is to talk to your child’s teachers.
• Discuss their expectations for homework.
- Some teachers may send home weekly packets that are due Friday, while others may not send home formal work, but they may want specific skills like reading aloud or times tables to be practiced each night. By talking to their teachers, you’ll be able to begin planning a homework schedule, as well as make a list of materials needed to be kept at the homework station.
The second step is to examine your home. Look for distractions and opportunities for task avoidance.
• Turn the television and radio off to eliminate extraneous noise.
• If they don’t need the Internet to complete the task at hand; turn the computer off.
• For older children, put cell phones away. A cell phone is a privilege they can earn for completing their work.
• Move away unnecessary materials to reduce distractions.
- If your child is working on their science homework, they don’t need their math book on the table.
• If you have more than one child, provide as much space between their individual homework stations as possible to reduce the temptation to talk.
The third step is to plan a homework schedule.
• Set a time for your child to start their homework each night.
- Over time, this will develop a routine and reduce the arguments needed to get started on homework.
• Choose an order for subjects to be completed.
- Talk to your child about what subject they would like to start with. This gives them some ownership over the homework process.
• Use a timer.
- Structure work time by building in breaks. Consider starting with 30 minutes of work, followed by a 10-minute break.
Homework stations don’t need to be a permanent setup; they can be a clear space on a cleared-off kitchen table or you can be crafty and turn a display board into a study carrel, as shown on the Disney Family Fun website. However you set them up, offering structure and consistency to your child’s homework routine will help your child learn and help you keep the peace in your household.