The Importance of a Positive Homework Space

Several southeast Michigan parents explain why having a positive homework space is so important for kids — and offer a few tips on creating one in your home.

Metro Detroit parents and beyond are creating study spaces to help their children excel in academics — all from the comforts of their own home.

Regardless of square footage, children can make the grade and study in everything from a spare bedroom and basement to a kitchen nook or in the living room, if they have a positive homework space, that is.

Keep it comfy

Ginnie Wade, Oxford mother of three (ages 15, 11, and 3 at the time of this article’s publication) says that while she made a comfortable study space out of her second-story loft area for her children — replete with a spy window — they found themselves drawn to other areas.

During the non-winter seasons her two older children do homework in their backyard on hammocks swinging between the trees while the family’s chickens run around their multi-acre property. Other times she’ll find one of them tucked between the dining room table and chairs doing homework.

“It makes me laugh,” Wade says. “We made the space in our loft area but it really helps my son to be himself with his space and get his work done.”

When her kids are in their loft they use their laptops and box cubbies with canvas drawers full of school supplies. They can also sit at a laminate countertop with stools.

Wade says that while a dedicated space to study and decompress is important, she doesn’t force it on them.

“If you have an active boy, keep your options open. If they are not going to use it all the time, it’s OK,” Wade says. “It’s more about letting them find different spaces for their creativity and learning.”

Consider age

Corie Conroy, owner of First Impressions Home Staging in Bloomfield Hills and mother to fraternal twins, says that younger kids want to be where their parents are and creating a homework space depends on a child’s age.

“My children tend to do their homework on the kitchen island. They want to be near us so we can help them,” Conroy says, adding that her children sometimes use the desk in their rooms.

“In the kitchen, we have a dedicated drawer with their scrap papers and pens and so forth and a dedicated cabinet where we keep supplies in,” Conroy says of their kitchen workspace. There is also a convenient hook in the space for their backpacks.

“Everything is nearby and it is easy to put things away,” Conroy says, adding that if children don’t have close and convenient workstations with storage capacity then mess is inevitable.

Conroy adds that parents have requested creative homework spaces when space is tight including mounted shelves in a corner, a closet-turned study area, even a fold-down desk from a living room armoire (that could be tucked back inside).

Kid-size is key

Jessica Wilhoite, Romulus Public Library youth librarian and first-grader parent, says that her son, Jackson, has a kid-sized table and chair set up in the corner of her living room with a lamp and some school supplies on it.

“He also uses the kitchen table to work,” Wilhoite says, adding that her and her husband decided to convert the space last year when their son started kindergarten.

Wilhoite says as a parent and librarian having a homework space at home is extremely important.

“It lets Jackson know that this is his space to complete his work,” she says. “We wanted to make the space comfortable for him so he would want to use it for homework, reading, or any kind of project he is working on.”

As long as the study space has the elements: a quiet place to focus, a calendar, a writing area, writing utensils, electronic necessities, good lighting, and storage containers then any space with enough room for homework can be used, Conroy says.

This post was originally published in 2020 and is updated regularly.

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