Your first line of attack for tackling homework demons should be establishing a homework station. Find out strategies to make that work when you have limited space available.
Now that August has arrived, it’s time to focus on back to school in earnest. And one of the big things that comes with going back to school is the re-appearance of homework. For kids with learning differences and their families, homework can often be a tense, stressful anxiety-provoking, anxiety filled exercise.
Just typing this, I start to feel the slow squeeze in my chest. Echoes from stressful homework sessions of the past. But, I know that one of the most helpful things that I can do as a mom to help my kids get ready for the return of homework is make sure that we have a solid foundation in place to get the work done. For lots of families, including ours, homework is typically done in a shared family space like a kitchen, family room or dining room. For my oldest son, we know from past experience that he needs someone nearby when he is doing homework. So setting up a quiet space in his room doesn’t work.
Simple Homework Station Ideas for Shared Spaces
We need a setup that is portable and transformational. Something that we can use to quickly and efficiently turn some portion of what is ordinarily a shared family space into a functional and productive homework station. And, we need something simple. We don’t want to have to spend a lot of time getting ready to do homework. We want to be able to sit down at the right time and get to work.
Basically two types of homework stations fit that bill. Something that is essentially portable. It can be brought out for homework time and stored out of sight when it’s time for regular family activities. A second alternative would be something that isn’t mobile and doesn’t have to be put away, but is unobtrusive or easily hidden away. For this year, these look like the most promising options:
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CREATING A PORTABLE HOMEWORK STATION
(1) The “Caddy” Homework Station
This idea from Simple Made Pretty presents a great practical approach for those short on space and looking for inexpensive solutions. All of her materials came from the dollar store. And, best part, the simple process that she walks through does not require any innate “crafty-ness” to pull off. Plus, she also has some free printables to help with personalization.
(2) The “Tri-Fold” Homework Station
This idea from Mom Advice is one of my favorites and wins high marks for creativity. What I love best about this portable homework station is that it can be folded up flat and stored in almost any convenient spot! It also doesn’t take up much room and helps create privacy in an otherwise public space. As an added bonus, it can be a great fun family craft project to help with the transition from summer to academics.
For other examples of how you can incorporate a tri-fold station into a homework center, check out these projects:
And, check out’s this Martha Stewart version which involves using a regular cardboard box!
(3) Using Boxes or Crates for a Homework Station
See great tips from My Life and Kids on creating an individual all-purpose homework box. She also provides a video.
This DIY Portable Crate Homework Station from Uncommon Designs is actually intended to be fully portable. As in, take it to the car so kids can do homework while they have downtime in between things. Check out the post to see the amazing amount of stuff she is able to organize for two kids in one compact space.
This simple DYI idea from a mom of 6 who blogs at lilluna.com, probably be put together with some things that you have on hand. What I like about this particular idea is that it is set up to be a shared station for multiple kids.
(4) The Rolling Homework Station
You can find lots of creative examples of rolling utility carts or shelves being transformed into portable homework stations.
From: Design Improvised
One twist to consider on this idea is to use rolling drawers instead of open shelves. Depending on the room being used, neutral colored drawers may make for a tidier and less noticeable workspace when rolled into a corner. Like this example of the Whitmor 3 Drawer Rolling Cart.
CREATING A STATIONARY HOMEWORK STATION
(5) Designating A Special Cabinet
If your kids typically do their homework at the kitchen or dining room table, then a workable solution could be to clear out a cabinet (or shelves) and create a homework station. Here’s an inspirational idea for what that could look like. Very tidy!
(6) The Refrigerator as a Homework Station
The folks at 36th Avenue have turned refrigerator space into a functional kitchen homework station. At fist glance, this looked extremely elaborate. But, when you read through her post, you discover that this project is based on some very simple elements.
(7) The Incognito Homework Station
Finally, this project from Shanty 2 Chic can be an awesome addition to a family room or kitchen. This DIY murphy desk can be folded into the wall when not in use, and the visible cabinet portion could be a chalk board for reminder, a memo board. Or it could be purely decorative. This project does, however, require a certain amount handyman skills. But the end product looks terrific.
In Closing . . .
Use these ideas to come up with a homework station that will work for your family for 2018-2019. If you have other inspirational ideas, please share!