Secrets of great study spaces
Your child’s success in school depends upon many factors, but don’t forget a crucial one: An organized study space that is conducive to your child’s learning style. It's the key to optimizing her study time.
Leslie Jacobs, owner of Les is More and creator of Les Mess (cards for children that make organizing and cleaning a game), is a professional organizer. She cannot overemphasize the importance of a carefully created, well organized study space.
Websites such as Craiglist.org and Freecycle.org are terrific places to find low and no cost desks, bins and other organizing essentials to set up a study space for your children.
First, Jacobs recommends having your child participate in the task. "If you get your child involved, she will be much more likely to use the space, and it will be better created for her," she notes.
Second, selecting a desk is very important. If it's in the budget, Jacobs says a new desk that is suited to your child's height is best. You can also purchase one secondhand -- at a resale store or garage sale, for example. Just be sure the size is appropriate. If you refinish or paint it, again, involve your child. Make it fun!
Third, organization is key to successful studying, so be sure to create an orderly environment. Take a trip to an office supply store such as Office Depot to purchase essential items such as drawer organizers. On a budget? You can purchase an inexpensive cutlery tray, for example, and use it as a drawer organizer, while a favorite coffee mug makes an excellent pen and pencil holder.
Jacobs also reminds parents not to forget that a study area isn't solely about a desk. She suggests finding a bean bag chair or something similarly comfortable for your child to lounge and read. On that same note, Kim Duckworth, academic coach and owner of SEC Tutoring in Scottsdale, Arizona, notes the importance of tailoring your child's study area to her learning style. For example, a kinesthetic learner might maintain better focus if you replace her desk chair with a Pilates ball. This allows her to move her body around while she studies. She also would do well with a larger desk so she has more space. Alternatively, a logical learner needs a very basic study space that is highly organized.
Even if your child studies at the kitchen table, strive for consistency, organization and an environment that suits her learning style. The payoff is worth the effort.