Getting a really good study area in place before the kids go back to school or college is really important.
With my boys heading back to school next week, I have ordered (because asking wasn’t working!), that a big clean up of their rooms be undertaken. So there are stacks of black bags cluttering my hall right now, filled with everything that they have outgrown over the summer.
Along with their clothes, we have also focused on getting their study areas in order. I have to admit that I am not always the tidiest person in the world, so every so often I have to purge my desk, otherwise I feel completely overwhelmed.
Creating a dedicated spot in your home for your kids to do their work will help improve their focus and develop proper study habits. Two places that I go to for inspiration are the Ikea and Argos catalogues. A study area doesn’t have to be a very serious place. In fact a fun, quirky desk can make studying a far more pleasurable activity; simply because it becomes a place you like and want to be.
To achieve this, here are some tips to create that Study Sweet Spot:
#1 Location of Study Area
- Sockets: Seems like everything is plugged in these days. When deciding on a great location be sure to consider where the plug points are. You are going to need lots!
- Heat: The study area needs to be warm but take care not to overheat the room as this can make the student drowsy
- Ventilation: Fresh air is really important. If possible, open the windows for a while when the kids are at school. A good supply of oxygen will help the brain remain focused for longer.
- Quiet: While over time our brain becomes really good at blocking out continuous background sounds, it is important to create a calm, and relatively quiet study area.
- Lighting: Good light is essential. A bright desk lamp coupled with softer overhead lighting works really well.
#2 Fixtures & Fittings
- Plants: Plants lift the sterile look of a desk, bring actual life to the table and if you use a plant such as a Peace Lily or Spider plant, even increases the oxygen levels in the room, making plants an aid to studying.
- Desk: It is really important to get a desk that suits the child. It doesn’t have to be an office type desk. Have a look in Ikea & Argos for ideas.
- Good Chair: This is vital. Your child is going to be sitting for a long time & needs to have good posture to prevent back problems in the future and also to maximise oxygen intake. If they are young, put a step under the desk for them to rest their feet on. It also helps them be more grounded.
- Notice Boards: These are great for keeping reminders, notes & personal items close at hand.
- Storage boxes: Keep everything tidy in cool storage boxes or tins. Catalogues are full of ideas. Tesco and Dunnes have some really nice ones at the moment. You could always convert old boxes or tins you have already into something bespoke to reflect your child’s personality. A nice little project if the last week of the holidays is wet!
- Clock: A silent one – no ticking but an alarm can be handy! It will help to train your child to work within time constraints – vital when doing exams.
- Book shelves: Great for keeping a desk tidy& having reference books & stationery to hand
- Computer: There is no way of getting around this one – computers have become part & parcel of a student’s life. I recommend using a laptop though, that way it can be taken away to stop it becoming a distraction. There are loads of applications, such as Net Nanny, available block or limit access to websites, especially social media ones!
- Printer: Set up the printer at the homework station for ease of access.
- WiFi: Be sure to have good internet access at the homework station. If the signal is poor invest in a booster. It will repay itself over and over in hours saved from listening to moaning about bad wifi!
#4 Stationery supplies
- Dictionaries: We may be in the digital age, but I still think old school is best when it comes to dictionaries. Make sure to have ones for foreign language classes’ and invest in a really good thesaurus dictionary. Nothing beats a thesaurus for vocabulary expansion.
- Timetable: This is where the cork board comes in handy. Have the corkboard on the wall in front of the desk and pin the timetable to it. No excuses for not knowing what classes you have tomorrow.
- Calendar: Use a type of calendar that has space for writing and fill in the school events, holidays, exam weeks etc. This forward planning means that you are organised for the year ahead. Highlight when projects are due and work back from the date, giving milestones to hit to keep the assignment on plan.
- Store Supplies: Be prepared! Avoid late night panics when supplies run out and have all of the following in a storage box; tape, staples, paperclips, pencils, biros, paper punch, poly pockets, spare folders / files, printer paper, spare copy books, writing pads & notebooks, Art supplies – glue, glitter, felt-tip pens.
- Desk Supplies: Calculator, maths set, stapler, paperclips, pens, ruler, correction ink. Folder to keep completed work / ongoing projects
Having a defined space to study creates a pattern in your brain. Just as picking up your car keys brings you into a type of automation for driving ( for example, without thinking you automatically go to the driver’s side), sitting at your homework spot immediately tells your brain I’m going studying and I need to focus.
Remember, our Study Success Program™ is perfect for second and third level students who want to hone their study skills and make studying very productive and revision easy. For more details and to book your place contact me on 087-2996054 or email firstname.lastname@example.org