Back to school is once again upon us. My girls successfully completed their first week and I can happily report that everything went off without a hitch.
Although many parents may be ready to send their kids packing, they aren’t looking forward to waking up early, packing lunches,helping with homework, and shuttling back and forth between activities.
When my kids were young, one of the biggest sources of anxiety for me was trying to manage everything that needed to get done between the hours of 4-6. I call that “crunch time”.
The kids are coming home from school hungry for a snack and they need to start homework. I need to make dinner, clean up, and go through their backpack mail. All of this madness needs to take place before we rush out the door to soccer practice or dance class.
Throughout all of this craziness I rarely had the chance to talk with my kids to find out about their day. I knew something needed to change. It was unhealthy for us to keep running at this pace without a plan. That’s when I created a “Homework Hub”.
A “Homework Hub” is a designated area where your child does his/her homework on a regular basis. It can be anywhere from a desk in their room, a home office, or the kitchen table.
For us, it made the most sense to use our breakfast bar in our kitchen as the girls’ hub. There is plenty of room for them to spread out to do their work, they have a designated area to store their supplies and best of all I am literally 5 feet away. It enabled me to easily prepare dinner, check email, while allowing them ask me questions about their homework or engage in a conversation about their day.
Most importantly, it created a routine. They quickly learned where to go when they came home, and what to do. They had everything they needed within reach so that they could work independently.
Below are 5 elements to creating a successful “Homework Hub” in your home:
1. Good Lighting. It doesn’t have to look like an interrogation room, however you want to ensure that there is enough light for your kids to stay alert, see what they are doing and read clearly.
2. Decent Seating. You want your kids to be comfortable, but let’s be honest, it’s difficult to have neat handwriting and keep your workspace organized if you are sprawled out on the couch.
3. Proper Storage. Having everything in one central place is critical to successful time management.
4. Free from Distraction. I am not suggesting that your child be banished to a room filled with silence, but find an area that your child can concentrate on the task at hand without interruption-especially from TV or video games.
5. A Dry Erase Board. 65% of people are visual learners. Having a white board with your child’s daily activities allows them to see what is expected of them. It may be difficult to remember when your library book is due, but if on Thursday it is written down “return library book” your child is more inclined to complete the task.
The purpose of the “Homework Hub” is to help foster independence, improve time management and reduce unnecessary stress, anxiety and frustration for both parents and kids.
What items should you keep in your “Homework Hub”?
Depending on the age(s) of your children the list will vary, however below are some staple items that I recommend having on hand at all times:
- flash drive
- glue/glue stick
- extra notebooks and loose leaf paper
- construction paper
- colored pencils
- any other supplies your child uses on a regular basis