Whether we like it or not, another school year is about to begin, and with that comes the H-word…HOMEWORK. (Lots and lots of homework in some cases…) I'm a huge believer in creating a homework space, or homework station as it is often called, where you post assignments, keep a due-date calendar, keep all the supplies and materials needed, so when it comes to homework, there's a set system, place, and routine for everything. I firmly believe that homework stations can be grossly overcomplicated and intimidating! But they certainly don't have to be.
Creating a homework station in your home can be as easy or complex as you want it to be. Ours is a simple desk area with supplies nearby. Some have incredible systems of magnets, charts, carts, and all sorts of cute-ness. However you prefer to do it, hold onto your hats because today I’m going to share with you a wide variety of tips and ideas to create a homework station that is just right for your family! (Psst you can even use these ideas if you don't have kids or homework in your house! Organization and functionality is universal – kids, or no kids!.) Also, while I'm here, quick PSA reminder to jump onto the Back to Productivity challenge this month if you haven't; it's not too late!
Ok, let's get on with it already. I now present…
DIY Homework Station and Homework Organization Ideas
First up, let me show you our homework station in our own house…
OUR HOMEWORK STATION:
When we first bought our house 2 years ago, one of the first things I noticed what that there wasn't a good gathering place for the kids. Sure, there was the kitchen counter, and a formal dining room with a table. But in my years of raising little, creative, messy, artistic people, I've learned how helpful it is to have an area for them to color, draw, and of course, work on projects and homework! Otherwise art supplies and glitter clue are constantly stacked and scattered all throughout the my house.
Initially, there was a big wall that the original family used as their TV area:
When we redid our kitchen this winter, one of the first goals was to turn that (awkward if you ask me…) area into a functional homework station for our kiddos!
…after just a weeeeee bit of demo first…
*Hits face with hammer*
Yeah. That was rough. But it was definitely worth the pain!
We added some navy blue cabinets, a sturdy quartz counter top, lots of drawers and cubby space, and a MILLION power outlets under the desk.
We hang clipboards for each kid. This is where we keep all their homework assignments, calendars, birthday invitations, or whatever else needs our attention and pertains to that child. I got the clipboards from the Target Dollar Spot but you can find them on Amazon or wherever.
We hang them on our wall using wire Command Hooks (no more nail holes! woo hoo!).
I also have a sturdy wire basket (also held on with Command Hooks) that I use to keep papers for me, papers that don't have a due date, papers regarding extracurricular activities, mail, or whatever else.
I have little plastic baskets below the upper cabinets that I use to keep projects that are in progress, mail that needs to be sorted through, electronic cords, office supplies I don't want the kids to have access to (tacks, ink pads, staplers, etc), or whatever else is floating around the desk and needs containing.
The biggest lower drawers are filing drawers that we use to store printer paper, coloring books, construction paper, card stock, notebooks, and other paper items. The drawers are full of crayons, markers, colored pencils, and pencils that the kids need to complete their homework and art projects. Pretty darn simple, but works pretty darn well!
That's how we do it in our home, here are some tips, tricks, and ideas for implementing a homework station in YOUR home!
1) CLIPBOARDS ARE YOUR BEST FRIEND
If you read and/or followed my Summer Systems post, you know how much I love clipboards. We have loved using our summer clipboards and will be rotating them out to make our school year clipboards (pssst! coming soon to the blog!). Clipboards are such a good way to easily display important papers your kids may bring home from school, and have really helped us stay on top of due dates and deadlines. We glance at the clipboard and if papers are clipped to it, we immediately know that child has SOMETHING they need to work on – eve if it's a spelling list or a book report that isn't due for a few weeks. As mentioned above, I got my cute clipboards from Target but you can also get clipboards for super cheap on Amazon, at Walmart, or even a local dollar store. Wherever you get them, definitely jump on-board the clipboard bandwagon!
Here are some additional ideas I grabbed from Pinterest (psst be sure to follow me on there! I'm always pinning helpful ideas!)
- I'm loving this “Back to School” checklist that I pinned to my “Back to School” Pinterest board. This would be a great thing to keep on your clipboards as you help your kids prepare for the first day of school!
- Magnets on the back of clipboard? Genius! This homework station that was set up on the side of a fridge top notch!
2) INCLUDE A CALENDAR
As you know from my “Plan a Year in Advance” post, here at the Page home, we think the use of calendars are ULTRA important. It's a great idea to hang one in your homework station to keep track of homework projects, upcoming tests, homework assignments, and all other important dates. There are a lot of different types of calendars you could use. But a personal favorite of mine is a simple paper one that you can easily hang. Like the clipboards, you can get these practically anywhere. And they are great to use because if you know things a few months in advance, you can easily write those items down as well as all the current monthly items that you need to keep track of. Where as if you chose to post a calendar that only consisted of the current month, you wouldn't be able to do that. Plus, as much as I love a great dry-erase board, you don't have to worry about anything you write down accidentally being erased. Which is always a huge plus!
- I'm really loving the bright colors on the rainbow colored paper calendars that were included in this pin that I saved!
Calendars are visual, cute, and helpful so be sure to use them!
3) MAKE SPACE FOR BACKPACKS
If your kids are anything like mine, then the first thing they probably do when they walk through the door after school is take their backpacks off and throw them on the ground. So fun, right? *Rolls eyes*. To avoid breaking an ankle and unnecessary messes, designate a space for backpacks! Our kids have cubbies in our mud room that they use on the weekends, and otherwise, they hang their backpacks on the back of their designated chair at our homework station.
Here are some cute backpack ideas from Pinterest:
- Storing your backpacks could also be as simple as this idea of using an entry way table. Plus, the table could also double up as your homework station too.
- And here's what the wall hook idea looks like. I love how they put cork boards above each one!
4) STORE IMPORTANT PAPERS
Loosing important school papers is the absolute worst! And I should know, I used to be the queen of doing it. As mentioned above, I use some basic gold hanging wall baskets (here are similar ones on Amazon). Hanging wall file organizers are also really helpful. Just designate one basket per child (or person in your family) and keep anything important pertaining to that person. If you wanted, you could divide your wall file organizer by designating the bottom space for homework that needs to be done, the middle for homework that needs to be checked/signed off by you, and the top for school forms/fliers.
- Isn't this homework station amazing?! I love how they used hanging baskets to store their papers as well as books and clipboards too. Get the full details for this on my “Back to School” Pinterest board!
However you do it, have a DESIGNATED place for important papers so they don't get shoved in a dark corner of your house somewhere, only to be lost forever! (…not that I would know about that…he'em…)
5) ORGANIZE YOUR SUPPLIES
Ever have one of those homework moments when you couldn't find a pencil or calculator for the life of you? Yeah. Not so fun. I recommend keeping common homework and art supplies within arm's reach of your homework station so there is NO excuse for them to not do their math!
Here are some simple DIY homework organization ideas:
- Cutlery Caddy (like this one) –You can get these inexpensively at pretty much any big-box store, or even your local dollar store. Then assign each compartment in the caddy for a specific homework supply like crayons, scissors, glue, pencils, etc. Note: Usually the caddies from the dollar store only have two compartments. So one thing you could do is also purchase six plastic drinking cups from the dollar store, put three on each side of the caddy and then place your various homework supplies in the cups. This plate rack caddy is also a great way to organize school supplies. Simply buy some buckets, cans, mason jars, or whatever to store each of your supplies in and you're good to go!
- Door Organizer –This could be something like an over the door shoe holding organizer that you can get at Walmart, Bed Bath and Beyond, or anywhere else that sells home organizing products. Just make sure to get one that is see through so your kids can easily see what supplies are in what storage pocket. Here's a cute idea from Pinterest:
- Art Cart – Ikea has a great cart that is popular to use, but you can find rolling utility carts at most big craft stores and home stores (even Amazon has some!). From there you can begin to fill your art cart with not only supplies like crayons and pencils but also notebooks, counting aids, flash cards, books, and so much more! I have this pin saved on my “Back to School” Pinterest board as inspiration. Because…I mean…LOOK AT IT!
Here's another homework organization station I'm loving. It's a good mix of supplies cart AND use of calendar.
So there you go! Those are some of the ideas I have for creating a functional (and pretty, obvs) homework station in your own home – no matter what size or shape space you have to work with!
Do you have a homework station in your house? How do you do it? Please share below so we can try your ideas, too!