Guest Blogger #361, Entry #944, February 7, 2012
When it comes to promoting an environment geared towards academics within the home, most parents fall back on homework at the kitchen table, at least until dinner, when everything has to be cleared away. Or perhaps you have your kids do their homework in the living room or even their bedrooms, where the persistent temptation of entertainment via TV, stereo, computer, or mobile devices can easily derail them. And herein lies the problem; if you don’t have a dedicated space that is exclusively devoted to helping your kids to learn, then you may not be doing all you can to ensure that they master the academics that will get them through school (and more importantly, their adult lives). So here are just a few tips to help you create the ideal learning environment in your own home.
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Create a workspace for each child
Start by creating a workspace for each child; in other words, provide desks. Whether you choose to put these work stations in an office space or in individual bedrooms is up to you, but you need to make sure that each of your kids has their own space to work in and that the space is conducive to learning (without undue distractions). Ideally, you should create a room that is dedicated to academic pursuits, whether it is a home office or you convert a family room or basement space for this purpose, simply because it will help your kids to get into the right mindset for learning. Although you may find it easier to separate kids that constantly distract each other, combining the place they do homework with the place they sleep could lead to a mental conflict that impacts one or both activities. They might be thinking about their studies when they should be sleeping, or they may get drowsy while doing their homework. So keep that in mind.
Design tips to consider:
The room should not be overly comfortable; it’s not meant for lounging. So while you can purchase comfortable office-type chairs for the desks, you probably don’t want to place couches or overstuffed chairs in the room. In addition, you should include adequate storage so that each child has a place to organize their own school supplies, textbooks, backpacks, and so on. Although you will likely have some communal craft items, you should also consider providing each child with their own supply of basics like pens, paper, scissors, and whatnot so that they don’t end up fighting for use of these products.
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If you can afford it, you might even consider getting each child a computer or laptop. It may be a while before they become interested in something like MBA programs online, but even young kids may have to use the internet for homework or type up word documents for class assignments. So making sure that they don’t have to battle for time at the keyboard could go a long way towards increasing their willingness to attend to their studies. The main thing to think about is how you can best aid in creating an environment that encourages learning, rather than using a space that has another function and then asking why kids aren’t getting their work done.
For more home ideas to help your children learn on Stagetecture, click here.