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A Better Way To Do Homework

As Published In Smead Organomics
A Better Way To Do Homework

Publicity -- Smead Organomics

Is your child having trouble learning? Difficulty focusing, completing homework, participating in class? There’s a direct correlation between how organized a student is and how well they do in school. If your kid is struggling, the first step is to take a look at the tools you’re providing to develop good organizing skills.

Set Up A Homework Station

Where does your child go to study each afternoon? A desk or table? Sitting in a corner of the bedroom or at a kitchen counter? Parked in front of the TV? Never underestimate how much damage a little distraction can do at homework time. If your child doesn’t have a quiet, undisturbed study location, do whatever you can to find one — NOW! Kids don’t require much space — even a small niche is fine as long as it:

  • is away from noise and distraction
  • provides good lighting
  • has comfortable seating
  • offers enough room to spread out

Provide The Right Supplies

The school supplies a particular child needs depend a great deal on that kid’s grade and classes. But every homework station should be equipped with the basics:

  • writing implements
  • tape
  • paper
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • stapler

It’s not a bad idea to have duplicates of supplies used both at home and in the classroom. (Keep one set at your child’s homework station — if you can’t designate a permanent space, set up a rolling cart so papers and supplies can travel from place to place. Another set should go in your kid’s school binder — use a transparent poly envelope, and you run less risk of something important being lost or left behind.)

Teach Time Management Skills

It’s one thing to set up a functional physical space for doing schoolwork — it’s another thing altogether to create the right MENTAL environment. Have a set time for completing homework each day (before play, before dinner, away from distractions) — a solid routine your child can count on. You might set a timer, designating small chunks of work time with short breaks between sessions. You can also set a recurring alarm to bring your student back to the task at hand if there’s any drifting off while working on an assignment. Children have to be taught to focus — it’s not a skill with which many of us are born!

Check Up On Your Kids

It’s also important that you take stock of the homework situation, every single day. Set up a series of two-sided pocket folders, with a different color for each subject — the left side for new assignments, the right side for completed work that needs to be handed in. Check the left pocket when your student comes home from school to see what must be done that evening — check the right pocket when your child claims to be finished (to make sure that’s actually the case). It’s also good to confirm that your kid has ALL of the relevant folders and school paraphernalia in hand as s/he heads out in the morning.

Color Coding Is Key

It can be hard to keep all the materials for one class together — but it’s a lot easier when your child has an obvious visual cue for each subject. Choose a different color for each class (math is blue, history is orange, science is green) — and make sure that EVERYTHING your student carries around for that period is marked with that color. So for math, your kid might have:

  • a blue pocket portfolio
  • a blue textbook cover
  • a small blue poly envelope for any class-specific school supplies
  • possibly a blue poly envelope or expanding wallet for larger materials

Good organizational skills eliminates the worry that your child will show up for class unprepared!

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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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