It seems that once the calendar turns to August, all we can think about is gearing up for back to school. Even though there is still a month of summer heat and lazy days left, parents and students alike start prepping for the school year ahead.

While a new backpack and trendy clothes are important to students, having the right space for homework and studying is just as important to the person paying for those new clothes, i.e. the parent/care giver/human wallet.

Desk for little learners

Image via A Whole Lot of Tiny

To ensure your child/teen/eternal student is able to excel at school, we’ve put together a list of things to consider when creating a study space for students of all ages. No matter the grade, here are 4 key elements to consider:

1. The right desk/chair/furniture.

Having the right chair and desk combo will ensure your student has no reason to complain they’re uncomfortable and “can’t work under these conditions.”

2. Lighting and location.

The right environment and space is as equally important as the furniture you put in there. Tailoring the space to the age and activities will really make a difference. The right lighting is important as we humans receive 85% of our information through sight. Appropriate lighting can help to reduce tired eyes and headaches too.

3. The right materials and storage.

Never hear excuses such as “I lost my pencil” or “I can’t find a calculator” again! Make sure your student has all the necessary tools to get the job done, and has a place to store them for later.

4. Consider the kind of homework.

Every child is different and will be working on different projects throughout their schooling career. The list of additional items will change as your student grows. 

We’ve broken down this list for every level of school. From kindergarten through university, here’s everything you should consider stocking up on.

Primary School:

For the littlest of students just starting out, there’s not a lot of preparation needed. Kindergarteners typically spend their time in school learning colours and how to count. Even though they’re at the easiest stage of school, unbeknownst to them, having their own space to grow and learn will help encourage them to make use of their study space down the road.

Image via A Whole Lot of Tiny

Image via A Whole Lot of Tiny

1. The right desk/chair/furniture.

Focusing on small furniture that is easy to clean is ideal. Having low to the ground tables and chairs lets little ones really get involved in their activities. Let’s be honest, it’s hard to get little kids to sit still, never mind expecting them to sit still long enough to work on their ABC’s. While a mini sized desk might be cute, a table with lots of space is a more practical idea.

2. Lighting and location.

At this age, it’s best to keep the kids within eye sight. They may have intended to only colour on the paper in front of them but by the time you turn around you’ve got a freshly Crayon-d wall. Creating a work space might be best if it’s in a corner of the living room or kitchen. This way they’re free to create but you don’t have to worry about what wall is their next canvas.

3. The right materials and storage.

Crafts, crafts, crafts. Proper storage is really essential at this age. Kids are going to make a mess, that’s a fact, but having to look at it all the time is fiction. Look for storage units that can store a lot but also look nice. 

4. Consider the kind of homework.

Kids at this age won’t be receiving a lot of real homeowner and instead will be bringing home creations they’ve made that day. They’ll want to show off the work they’ve done and be proud. A bulletin or magnetic board is a great way to keep the rotation of art moving. 

Elementary: 

Once your scholar begins elementary school the homework starts rolling in. Creative projects coupled with light research papers and reading will be the focus of their time. Having space to spread out their work and keeping track of their assignments is key to a successful study space.

Image via http://houseupdated.com/one-room-challenge-book-ledges-wall-mounted-nightstands-industrial-lights/

Image via House Updated.

1. The right desk/chair/furniture.

Now is the time to invest in a proper desk. As your child grows so too does the work load and a full sized desk will help them. A comfortable desk chair will help them adjust to this new task of sitting down and focusing on additional school work. You can still make the space fun by accessorizing with playful pieces and adding pops of their favourite colour. 

2. Lighting and location.

Once in elementary school, homework can be done in their room, or in a specific kids study zone. Give them some independence but still within eye sight so you can make sure they really are memorizing the provinces and not doodling. Proper lighting is always a good idea. Not only does it help you stay focused, it helps prevent eye fatigue and headaches. A funky lamp is another great way to add personality to the space.

3. The right materials and storage.

Students in elementary school will be working on a wide variety of projects from presentations to book reports and mini-essays. This means they’ll need a wide variety of tools to help them get the job done. Again, storage is a big factor. You’ll want to have everything they need easily accessible and easy to put away as well. A big wall calendar is also a good idea to organize assignments and activities. This way both of you know what’s going on and when. Using chalk board paint is an easy and creative way to create a wall calendar in your kid’s study space. It can also be used to help kids work on assignments when sitting at a desk becomes boring.

4. Consider the kind of homework. 

For those bigger science projects and art masterpieces, you’re going to need space and maybe a tarp and safety goggles. We suggest working on those projects outside.

High School:

Once your student enters high school their whole world is turned upside down. Suddenly they’re real teenagers with real teenage problems. Let’s not forget the growing workload as well. High school is really a transitional phase, and depending what classes your teen’s school offers, their interests and study space needs will be different.

Image via theorganisedstudent

Image via theorganisedstudent

1. The right desk/chair/furniture.

High school students are going to be spending a lot of time researching and writing. This means they’ll need a good space for writing, outlets for laptops, and potentially a comfortable reading chair if you want to step up the style (this will probably end up being a place to throw their laundry, but you can try to encourage a reading chair).

2. Lighting and location.

Teens want to be alone so making their bedroom into a functional study space is your best bet. They’re going through a lot and reading Lord Of the Flies isn’t helping them deal with finding a date to the dance. Send them to their room to focus on their school work and shut the door until dinner. 

3. The right materials and storage.

With the exception of teens who are in art schools, high school is heavily based around reading and studying. While they’ll need storage for their books, they mostly carry everything with them and store it (and lose it) in their lockers. Investing in some bookshelves and baskets will help with storage and organization. 

4. Consider the kind of homework.

Essays and reports will keep these kids busy for four years. They’ve also got sports, clubs and even jobs to fit in to their already packed social schedules. Again, we suggest a big wall calendar to keep them organized. There are lots of DIY options they can make themselves, or you can shop for one that’s a little more “grown-up” looking than the one they had in elementary school. 

College/University:

If you’re lucky enough (or unfortunate enough depending on how you want to look at it) to have your scholar still living at home after high school graduation, they’re going to need a new space that gives them the freedom and grown up feeling higher education brings. Again, it’s most important to consider the program and courses they’re going into. A student studying deep philosophical theories is going to require a different space from the art prodigy who needs to express themselves through their art. Consider moving the latter student down to the basement or garage; paint is hard to get out of carpet.

Image via PB Teen

Image via PB Teen

1. The right desk/chair/furniture.

Just like in high school, a desk that allows space to spread out to work and a comfortable chair to study in are key. It might be time to upgrade your student’s space by springing for a desk and chair they’ll hopefully continue to use once they graduate and get their own place. Getting a degree so they can get a good job and get our of your house is the point, isn’t it?

2. Lighting and location.

Students will most likely be spending a lot of time at the library and late nights at home writing essays that seem to never end. A location that allows them to focus is necessary. Swap out bright overhead lighting for a desk lamp. A good desk lamp will ensure all key facts are seen and absorbed when doing a late night cramming session.

3. The right materials and storage.

Notebooks and pens are useful for taking notes in labs, but with todays technology the only thing modern day academics really need is a laptop.

4. Consider the kind of homework. 

If your student is studying something specific like nursing or a more hands on trade, the school will be happy to let you know all the additional materials they will require and the hefty price tag attached to said items.

These tips apply to a study space located in the student’s room but can be easily applied to other spaces in the house. No space for studying in their room, or have multiple kids who will be working at once? Try using extra space in your home as a study zone. Take a look at this hallway that’s been converted into a great study space. Having a study space that’s not in their bedroom helps kids separate the dread of homework from being associated with their rooms which should be their sanctuary. 

Image via projectnursery

Image via projectnursery

Having a functional, organized and fun space is important for kids of all ages. Try to incorporate some of these tips and see if it helps with homework at all. Our guess is your kids will still hate doing it, but they might enjoy hanging out in the space a little bit more.

Most importantly, enjoy these last few weeks of summer!

Posted by Jessica Greaves