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Setting Up An Effective Study Area

When children have a designated area to do their homework, they are more likely to be efficient and productive. Study areas can be set up in a variety of spaces around the home. A good study area should be designed with the unique needs of the child and family in mind.

Where can you set up a study area?
•  It may be helpful to have a look around your home with the child and explore the question “where would be the best place for you to do your homework?”.
•  Consider whether you need to allocate a study area for each child individually, or for multiple family members in a common area.
•  Some children work best in quiet areas, like a bedroom, away from other family members. Other children are not as autonomous and work better in a common area like the dining room.
•  If space is an issue, a study area can be allocated to an area that is also used for something else. If this is the case, ensure that equipment needed for study is organised in a way that makes it easy to put out and pack up.


What can you include in the study area?
•  A study area should be equipped with everything that the child may need to complete homework. Pens, scissors, glue, writing paper, a dictionary, and a ruler are a good start.
•  A computer can be included in the study area, or may be better placed somewhere else in the home.
•  Lighting in the study area should be good and the seating comfortable.
•  A place to display a study timetable can help to keep the child organised (template included in PDF download).
•  A place to record study reminders or due dates can help to keep the child focused (template included in PDF download).
•  A Learning Plan or Learning Contract can help children adhere to their home learning and minimise negotiations and disputes (template included in PDF download).


Who should set up the study area?
•  Consider the needs of all household members and decide who should be involved in setting up the study area.
•  Where possible, try to include the child in the set-up of the study area as this will help to give the child a sense of ownership of the area. The more involved the child is in the set-up of the study area, the more eager the child will be to use it.
•  Older children can design their own study area and draw a floor plan before you start to set up. They may also like to create a list of what needs to be included in their study area.
•  Children’s learning styles and habits differ, so it’s important that family members consider the needs of the individual(s) who will be using the study area and work together to set it up.


What can you do to ensure the study area is used efficiently?
•  If space is limited, perhaps allocate time slots for various family members to access the study/work area.
•  Setting up guidelines for the use of the study area will help provide clear expectations for its use. These guidelines should be developed in collaboration with the child.
•  It is reasonable to expect that taking phone calls, texting, or participating in social media is not acceptable during study time. An exception to this may be group study or collaborative assignments.
•  Remove obvious distractions from in or around the study area.
•  Periodically ask yourself and the child “what can we do to improve the study area?”.
•  Be prepared to adapt the study area as the needs of the learner change or if the study area is not achieving its purpose.


Study Area Planning

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This article was originally created for the Popet Education Facebook Page.