Studying can be hard. Lets not pretend otherwise. Parents think back to when you were a kid and try to imagine how annoying it was to sit and study for even a little while. Imagine now when there are way more distractions available than ever before. It is a challenge to sit there and remain focused for several hours at a time without really doing much of anything except reading or working out some concept that you probably don’t like. I’ve almost never heard a student, even the best students, say that studying is their favorite thing to do. Quite the opposite in fact: Most people don’t like studying.
Now that we’ve got that out of the way lets also be realistic about the fact: Studying is necessary to succeed in school today. Whether it is enjoyable or not, if you want to do well in school you need to study. It is as simple as that. Work needs to be done and time needs to be spent to learn.
Homework also fits into the “It’s never a good time” category. The teachers know this, parents know this, and students know this. Yet homework is assigned a lot, collected, checked, and sometimes a big part of your grade in school. Why is that the case if no one likes it?
The answer is simple, it is a necessary evil. Something that helps kids learn what is being taught. It allows kids to practice and hone their skills, whatever they are. Without it, kids would struggle more. They would learn less. It is as simple as that.
So, we’ve established that studying stinks and homework is no fun but both happen to be necessary evils if you are going to get good grades in school. So, what is there to do about this? The best advice we can give here is to create a space in your house where kids can study without distraction. This spot should be comfortable yet conducive to focusing. We’ve put together several suggestions for such a study space that will hopefully lead to better grades, higher scores, and less stress.
Make studying comfortable – Make sure you are comfortable when you are studying. There is nothing worse than sitting somewhere doing something you don’t like while also feeling terribly uncomfortable for hours. Being uncomfortable generally leads to less time spent studying and doing homework. This leads to lower grades. Get a comfortable chair and a comfortable desk.
Don’t get too comfortable though – Comfort can get carried away when studying. When it happens, its bad. You lose focus, you drift off, and you end up doing something completely unrelated to your homework. That is not what we’re going for. Places to avoid studying: On a bed, a couch, or some sort of recliner like thing. Keep it confined to a nice comfortable upright chair and desk. There’s a reason those seem to be the standard now and have been for kind of a while.
Keep away from the hustle and bustle – Most houses today with school age kids can get kinda busy: they can be noisy, they can be loud, they can be distracting. Your homework spot should be well off the beaten path in the house. Basically, if people are going to be around to distract you, talk to you, or do their own things while you’re working it isn’t the place you want to be. Find a nice quiet corner and make it your own!
Stock your spot! – This might sound kind of weird but have the necessary items that you will need at your study spot. The worst thing you can run into is being on a roll, studying like mad, doing your homework like a champ, and then you realize “man I need a stapler, where is it?” Things like that can kill your focus and momentum and lead to a 10 minute search around the house for a stapler or pen or whatever. Don’t let that happen. Stock your spot with all the essentials: Stapler, calculator, pencils, pens, paper, erasers, tape, paper clips, post its, index cards, 3 hole punch, Kleenex, and whatever else you can think of. Keep it there and keep it ready so that when you need it you don’t waste time or get distracted.
No distractions – Keep the distractions away from your spot. No TV around it anywhere, trust us, watching TV while doing homework or studying doesn’t help. It just doesn’t. A computer can be an interesting challenge to have in the homework spot. Obviously computers can be really helpful when it comes to getting homework done or studying for a test. They also pose a serious distraction though; especially when kids are only a click away from Facebook or whatever else is out there. If you are going to have one in your spot, resist the distraction temptation! The other biggie would be the kid’s phone. Today the phone is way more than just a phone, it does it all! The phone can be a huge study tool that provides immediate contact with friends who are doing the same homework the child is. It can be used to look up answers and solutions too. The problem though is that it can also be used to do one of 8 million different things that are distracting and have nothing to do with school. It is another one of those tough calls that parents and kids will have to make about what works best for the individual kid.
Make it the place to be! – Make your study spot the place to be by incorporating some sort of personal design touch into it. Put some posters up or some inspirational sayings; just do something to make whoever is studying there feel good and not hate having to be there. Make it a place people like going to work.
Having a spot in your own house where homework can be done without distractions is a huge help to most students. In truth, most people haven’t even thought about this. Kids just sit down somewhere and start working. Parents, if you want your kids to study and do their homework more: Make one of these spots in your house! Make it look nice and fun, like a place a kid wouldn’t mind sitting for an hour or two. Put up some cheesy inspirational quotes. They might sound cliché to someone over the age of 20 but for a middle schooler or high schooler they actually have some meaning. Get a nice looking desk and a comfortable chair for your kids so they think its not basically a spot to be punished by having to do work. Keep the distractions away and you are good to go!
Hopefully this helps you out, if so please feel free to share it with anyone else you think it might help out.
Founder and President of SchoolEdge Mobile Inc., High School Chemistry Teacher, Father, Husband, Michigan State University Graduate