Or at 9:00 PM, “I have a science test tomorrow and my book is in my locker.”
These interactions are exhausting and down right maddening. Better planner use and listening in class are obvious tools that can help children remember homework assignments and tests. But what can you do at home to help your child do their best and get organized? The answer is creating a home office.
So often a child sees the school locker as the place to keep and store schoolwork and textbooks. If that is the case, the student is “officing” out of the locker not out of the home. Ideally, home is where kids need to complete a large amount of work. This leads to struggles in having the right materials, supplies, and textbooks available. Here’s a grown-up analogy: What if, for your job, you kept all the essential items to complete your work in a rented storage unit, 1-10 miles away from your work space? Sounds crazy and stressful! This is what happens when your child tries to keep everything at school and not at home where the majority of homework is done.
Create a home office to store all of the items needed to be a successful student. This office does not need to be a new desk, separate room, or even a large space. It simply needs to be a container where your child can put all of his schoolwork. What should be in the home office?
Home Office Contents
- All textbooks, notebooks, and folders. Only bring to school what is needed that day.
- A storage folder (example-accordion folder with titled tabs) to keep old assignments. These papers can be used to study for finals at the end of the term and dispute grading mistakes.
- Extra paper, notebooks, and writing supplies. Pens, pencils, markers, and colored pencils can be stored in large plastic bags so everything needed is handy to get projects done.
- Resource books such as dictionary, thesaurus, atlas, etc… Many times you can get some of the basic edition of these books at a dollar store or at a discount bookstore. Using books is a learning tool too rather than using online sources.
- Extra textbooks. If your child is unable to carry everything home each afternoon, “renting” an additional copy of the textbook from the school may be an option. Often schools will allow students to borrow books with a deposit check. There are also many used copies of textbooks that can be purchased online.
The home office does not need to be fancy. It just needs to work. Encourage your child to bring everything home every night. When you find an assignment or school item around the house, simply place it in the box.
A home office is a terrific tool for students. It will help your child develop responsibility, lessen forgotten homework interactions, and give your child a sense of ownership over his schooling. All pluses for Mom and Dad too!
By Megan Stone, M.Ed.
Wife to Rick, Mom of 2
1 Corinthians 13 Parenting Team Member, Founder of Stone Foundations of Learning, Inc.