Creating a Study Space
The new school year is still a few weeks away, but now is a great time to start thinking about your student’s study space so they can hit the ground running. A dedicated study space and a study routine helps cue your mind and your body that it’s time to study. Think about these things when planning a study space.
Try to find a space for them that is low traffic without distractions. Near a TV could be a distraction. Near a power outlet will be convenient for any computer work. Chose a space that’s also free of major sound distractions. Consider making this spot a “cell phone” free zone. Whether you provide a desk or a table, make sure there is enough space for both computer work and writing work.
What your student needs will depend on their age and what they’re studying. Some general tools to keep nearby include
- Calculator (dependent on the difficulty of the subject)
- Graph paper
- Colored pencils
- Printer paper
- Extra printer ink
- Paper clips
- Scratch paper/loose leaf paper
- Post-it notes
- Note cards
- Computer (reduce distractions by enforcing a “writing-only” rule and disconnecting the Wi-Fi)
Comfort is important. Make sure your student has a chair that is an appropriate height. This means their feet rest comfortably on the floor and they can comfortably write or type on the desk or table top. Comfort also includes temperature. Make sure the area is not too hot or too cold.
Lights that are too dim or too harsh can cause problems for your student. Lamps are great. If it ends up being the wrong intensity, just swap out the bulb for a lower or higher wattage.
Help your student develop good organization skills. Provide an appropriate space for each material. Ideas include: pencil cups/pen cups, drawers with organizers, clear hanging shoe organizers, paper trays, and file cabinets with file folders. Before your student starts studying, have them make sure they have everything they need. Getting up to find a new pack of staples could give your student a great excuse to procrastinate.
This is an important skill for your student to learn. Have them keep track of what they need to do each day and help them plan for the future. For example, if they know they have a biology paper due in two weeks, what should they be doing each day to ensure it gets done on time? Support them in developing this skill and they’ll use it for the rest of their lives.
Other things to think about:
Set the rules in advance. When and how long are study breaks? Can they listen to calming music? Instrumental music can be distracting to some students or help other students focus. Above all, make sure your student is comfortable, prepared, and confident to study!