With two kids in different parts of their school career, I’ve had visions of them sitting nicely together at our big family desk working on homework.
That has yet to happen.
I’ve also thought that they could use the big dining room table.
One day, when they don’t need help or have questions for me, they’ll do their homework in their rooms – I think. At this point, however, the favored work area is on the couch after running around trying to find a pencil – that is sharpened – and has enough eraser – and scratch paper – markers – highlighters – scissor – calculator.
Fed up with the homework chaos, I’ve tried two different homework organization techniques with them. The Homework Board and the Homework Box. Below is a little more about each and at what times they worked best for us. I’ve also included a project-planning template below that you can print out for your own children!
The Homework Board:
Essentially it is a foam board, or even a piece of cardboard, with a number line, alphabet line, homework quick tip charts, pockets for pencils, and other small essentials.
This worked great when my girls were in Kindergarten through third grade. The handy references and boards helped them block out distraction while doing homework. (This, of course, was when I could get them to sit at the table and do their homework). Nonetheless, it was great while it worked for them.
The Homework Box:
This is a new system we have put in place. I used a scrapbook paper box for each (from the craft store) and filled them with paper, pencils (especially mechanical pencils – no sharpener needed), a large eraser, paperclips, markers, scissors, glue sticks, dice (for math games), calculator (if needed) and the same type of handy quick reference charts I used on the homework board . . . all the things they each need for their grade levels.
The lid is a great work surface, as it is 12×12 inches, and all of the supplies they need are inside.
They stack nicely in our living room to keep the clutter hidden.
We did have to implement a rule that they are ONLY used for homework . . . not for craft projects. The girls are in 3rd and 7th grade, and so far these homework boxes are working great!
Project Planning Template
In my middle-schooler’s homework box, I also added a handful of blank School Project Planning worksheets. I taught her to use these to plan out the six projects that were due during the same week.
She loved them, and they completely helped her feel under control and ready to handle the work. She even asked if we could give them to the teachers to handout to the class.
Feel free to print your own to use with your kids!
QUESTION: What has been most helpful for organizing homework and projects in your family?
CHALLENGE: If your family is experiencing any homework challenges, have a talk with your children about which tools or resources would be most helpful.
For more ideas, be sure to check out our School Project and Homework Mastery Kit! It has videos, print-outs, and lots of excellent tips you’ll love.