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Creating A Homework Station

As Published In Smead Organomics
Creating A Homework Station

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

As those bright yellow buses start rolling again, parents are understandably concerned about the kind of learning experience their children will have in the classroom — but it’s just as important that you give your kids the right study environment (meaning an orderly and organized one) at home.

Choosing A Location

Where does your kid do homework each evening? At the kitchen table? In front of the television? Hidden away in a dark corner of the bedroom? Or perhaps your child studies in a different location every night — migrating from room to room, misplacing papers and spreading school supplies all over the house? Every child should have a quiet, undisturbed, and DEDICATED location for studying.

Fortunately, kids don’t require much space — even a small niche is fine as long as it’s away from noise and distraction, has comfortable seating, provides good lighting, and offers enough room to spread out. If you simply can’t designate a permanent workstation, set up a rolling cart so your child can easily take papers and supplies from place to place without leaving anything behind. (Every student should have a study space of some kind to call “mine” — even if the thing has wheels!)

Setting Up The Supplies

The school supplies a child needs depend on what grade and class subjects you’re dealing with — but every homework station should be equipped with the basics. Writing implements and art supplies can be stored in a series of small plastic drawers (one for markers, one for pens, one for pencils, one for paintbrushes, one for crayons). Loose paper works best when placed in stacking trays (computer paper in one, notebook paper in another, construction paper in a third). All those little loose supplies (like scissors, tape, rulers, protractors, staplers) can be stored in labeled shoebox-style containers. And don’t forget a solid set of bookends for holding up schoolbooks, binders, and notebooks. It’s also not a bad idea for your child to have duplicates of those supplies used both at home and in the classroom — a “homework station” set and another set in ye olde school binder. It may seem redundant, but you run less risk of something important being lost or left behind.

Keeping Track Of Papers

Most parents’ biggest complaint during the school year is paper. Homework assignments, school calendars, memos, permission slips, graded assignments, art — the amount each kid receives can be overwhelming! The best way to stay on top of school papers is to stem the tide before it even starts.

  • Completed assignments should go right back into your child’s homework folders.
  • Fill out any forms or permission slips IMMEDIATELY — then return them to your child’s school folder, so they can be turned in the next day.
  • As you receive calendars/activity notices, mark the date in your planner and discard the paperwork.
  • Organize administrative papers (like class directories and instructions for the year) in an expandable file at your command center or desk — papers you need to carry with you on the go can be stored in a portable file box or vinyl divided wallet.
  • Designate a plastic tub with a lid for “art/school papers.” Each time your child brings home a drawing or an A+ report (or other item that you want to save), put it in the box (instead of piled all over the desk or on the floor) — at the end of the school year, pick your favorites to include in a scrapbook.

Color Coding Is Key

It can be hard to keep all the materials for one class together — so the trick is to color code. Choose a different color for each class (math is blue, history is orange, and science is green). So let’s say we’re setting up supplies for math — your child would have a blue pocket folder (the left side for new assignments, the right side for completed homework that needs to be handed in), a blue textbook cover, a blue pouch for any class-specific school supplies, and possibly a blue poly envelope or expanding wallet for larger materials. Double-checking in the morning (to make sure all the right folders and school paraphernalia are packed for the day) is a cinch — no more excuses for showing up to class unprepared!

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Copyright 2001

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Ramona Creel is an award-winning 15-year veteran organizer and member of the National Association Of Professional Organizers. As well as having birthed “The A-To-Z Of Getting Organized,” Ramona is also the author of “The Professional Organizer’s Bible: A Slightly Irreverent And Completely Unorthodox Guide For Turning Clutter Into A Career”—and the creator of more than 200 “quick-start” business tools and templates for use by productivity professionals. She writes seven different blogs, has worked with hundreds of clients, and has delivered scores of presentations on getting organized. Ramona resides on the roads of America as a full-time RVer—living and working in a 29-foot Airstream. Learn more at and

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