Myth # 1: Children have to study in a quiet place without stimulation.
REALITY: Do what works! Finding success with homework is about facing reality.
Different children have different needs for studying. Some kids do better in a quiet room on their own, while others thrive in a work space with the family as they hustle and bustle. Others like a quiet space with others working quietly around. You may need to experiment to see how your child works best. Have them try studying in their bedroom, at the kitchen table, in the family living space, or whatever makes sense for your family. The bottom line is that this space has to work for your child and the rest of the family. For example, having 4 busy children means I need my kids close by while they are studying so I can help if needed. My kids work best at the dinner table. Honestly, sometimes they work in the car too.. Think about the reality of the day and prepare for it.
Myth # 2: Children must have the same study routine every day.
REALITY: Busy families do not have the same routine every day ! Finding success with homework is about facing reality.
Each child has a study time that works best for them. Once you discover a good study time for your child, set a routine to follow everyday so nothing is missed. In a dream world, an example would be: come home, have a snack, do homework, organize backpack, help with dinner, and get ready for bed. Now let’s face reality, so we can be successful! Studying at the same time every day is not always possible. Prepare for that by having portable materials available for your child to do their homework on the go; create a study burrito for the car and for your purse. Instead of taking their back pack inside after school. When you’re on the go keep backpacks in the car until evening; that way if there is time the homework is accessible.
* If you sign up for our free Ezine you will get step by step instructions for the "Study Burrito".
This Study Burritio holds all the supplies you need for your Study Space.
Myth # 3: A good study space is best when set up by parents, using neutral colors and non-stimulating materials.
REALITY: Kids that help design and create their own study area have a sense of ownership and feel the space belongs to them.
It's much easier for your child to get his mind fully into study mode when everything is in its place and he knows where to find supplies. Involve your child in the process of creating a study area. Have them pick the spot they want to study ( or 2 spots). If you are short on space consider: an efficient study space in as little space as a good-sized closet. If your child's bedroom room has two closets, turn one into a study nook. Or perhaps that catchall closet in the family room could be converted to an efficient study nook Where ever you choose, ask your child to pick the colors, pictures to put up around the spot, lighting, where to store supplies, etc. There are super cheap ways to personalize a study space. Each year my kids pick a spot to study and decorate it. They use duct tape and permanent markers to decorate their desk- you wouldn’t believe what they come up with! They choose photos or projects they have done, to stick above their spot. I usually supply a cork or magnetic board on the wall above the desk to hold a calendar, decorative items, etc.
Myth # 4: A child’s study space should only be used for homework.
REALITY: If a child likes a space they will be more apt to use it.
Stop calling it a “Homework Area” and start calling it a “Study Space”. Children who have designed and built their study space can use it for homework and other activities. My children keep books, diaries/journals, paper, etc. in their study space – these materials must be organized. Some children like to give a name to their study space. It might sound crazy, but it works. By naming your study space, you generate a sense of ownership and respect for your own space. By encouraging your child to take advantage of this organized spot, you will create positive feelings about studying.
Myth # 5: It is a parent’s job to keep track of important due dates and events.
REALITY: When children learn to use a calendar to remember activities and deadlines they will develop essential life skills.
It is always a good idea to keep important dates organized as a parent ( I would go insane if I didn’t) . Helping your child to keep track of important due dates/activities increases the like hood of remembering dates, instills confidence, and teaches life skills. It is super easy to hang a calendar in front of your child’s desk area or by the door. Encourage your children to record important dates/activities as they arise. You will need to help the first few times, then you can just give reminders like “did you write dates on the calendar? or “when is your book report due?” Another great strategy is to have your child check their calendar every day before school. At our house we hang the calendar by the door- each child writes important dates/activities. They also write down the days they have: PE, Music, and Art. I can’t tell you how many days the kids look at the calendar and say “Oh, I forgot I have PE today, I better get my tennis shoes”.