Homework Study Area Kids

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After a full summer of fun and freedom, it can be hard for kids to settle back into routines and desks, even harder still when it comes to focusing on homework. We know from Building Homework Habits that setting up a spot to work on homework is key. Even if your kids are just starting kindergarten, having a functional space to work on projects, printing, and even colouring is a great idea.

By using a peg board and containers, your creative homework space doesn’t even need to take up much room:

 

Contemporary Kids design by Cincinnati Media And BlogsThe Vintage Glitter House

 

Or, if you already have a play space, incorporate small work areas within it, like the little table and paper roll in this room.

 

Eclectic Kids design by New York Interior DesignerEsther Sadowsky

 

If you already have a home office space, why not incorporate the homework area within it. Set-up designated areas for your work and your child’s homework area.

 

Eclectic Home Office design

 

A long workspace can be flexible to your needs also. This long desk can either function as two work areas as shown, a collaborative area (should your child need help on a problem), and even a larger workspace, taking over the whole desk area, for larger projects.

 

Modern Home Office design by New York ArchitectASAP•house Inc – Studio Kiss

 

If your child is easily distracted by others, you can create some separation between workspaces by setting the desks on opposite sides of the wall, with a common storage area in the middle.

 

Contemporary Home Office design by Sydney Interior DesignerKristie Paul

 

Perhaps you don’t have room for a dedicated homework area. If you have your dining room doing double duty, create a storage area in the space where kids can get the supplies they need and store the work they’re not completed. This keeps your dining room area clean while still providing a fun and organized work pace for the kids. This simple wall space for the kids’ school supplies has been tied together with a scholarly map theme and would look great in any room in the house.

 

Traditional Kids design by Media And BlogsFrom House to Home

 

Whatever your storage solution for the kids’ supplies, you can make it fit within the feel of your multipurpose room, like these simple wire baskets shelved against the wall in this room. Each child can have their own basket with the contents are hidden and the central caddy can hold supplies everyone will use. You just need to remove it when you’re setting the table for dinner.

 

Other design by Other Metros PhotographerJulie Ranee Photography

 

Fitting a homework space in unused nooks and crannies of a room is also a great idea. Just remember, these nooks can be dark so ensure there is enough light to work in. Natural light is always nice to work in, near a window or under a skylight as in this homework area, but artificial light will be needed, as the days get shorter.

 

Contemporary Kids design by Other Metros ArchitectStanislav Ermolenko

 

You can also create separation between a living space and the homework area without the use of physically walls. These sliding doors keep the room looking airy when the homework space isn’t being used but can easily be closed to allow your child to focus and avoid distractions from others. The opaque material also allows light to filter into both rooms.

 

Contemporary Home Office design by New York ArchitectSarah Jeffeys Design

 

Siblings can present a problem when it comes to adding a homework space. Ideally you want everyone to work on their homework together, in a room where you can monitor their progress and be handy to help as needed. But each child has its own study and storage needs. Creating separate areas enables them to create their own personalized space, not to be touched by siblings.

 

Modern Home Office design by Interior DesignerAmy’s Affordable Interiors

 

 

Traditional Kids design by Grand Rapids ArchitectVisbeen Associates, Inc.

 

Children may not love the fact that they have to do homework, but creating an inviting and organized homework space makes the task easier.

 

 

Mom of three with a love of video games, bread, and children's books. As the Editor-in-Chief she writes about everything from family travel, products she loves, and the interesting experiment known as motherhood.

As kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.

The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week, earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.

But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:

The issue

For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.

But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station. “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”

A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.

New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.

The research

The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.

Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.

Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.

The debate

Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.

Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.

“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”

Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs, thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.

“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.

The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.

“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”

Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.

“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”

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