It’s back to school season in Australia – how did those holidays go so fast??! So I’ve been thinking about what I can share to help you get on top of school organisation.
Once school starts, it seems to hit like a whirlwind, doesn’t it?
Early mornings, making lunches, homework, school paperwork, extracurricular activities that all start back up at once.
One thing that helps our lives run a little more smoothly is having a dedicated homework station.
True confession… this is the sort of thing I probably wouldn’t even have shared on the blog in the past. It’s definitely practical, but it’s not particularly pretty or photo-worthy.
But this hard-working area does help our lives function more smoothly, so I figured it may be helpful to some of you as well.
And let’s be real, if I waited to share this until I painted all the shelves of our homework cupboard and re-labelled everything with prettier labels (a project I’ve been thinking about doing for about, um, 2 years now)… I’d probably never share it. Ha!
So how does our homework station work?
To start with, the kids each have a set of drawers for their homework books.
These drawers are on top of their school bag storage stations, a set of cubbies which act as a drop zone for all their school paraphernalia as soon as they come in from the garage. There’s a place for hats, shoes, school bags, library bags… and homework.
At our kids’ school, they get all their homework at the start of the week and then work on it a little each day. So it makes sense to have a drawer where they can easily dump and retrieve those books or worksheets on a daily basis.
I like having these drawers right near their bags. When they’re unpacking their bag that first day, it’s easy to dump the homework books right in the drawer. When they’re packing their bag to hand in their homework at the end of the week, it’s also right within reach.
I’ve found that the easier I make a system for my kids, the more likely they are to actually follow it.The easier you make an organising system for your kids, the more likely they will be to use it.Click To Tweet
The top drawer is for anything that does NOT relate to daily homework. Information sheets, term projects, resources, and any other school paperwork goes in this drawer.
This way, their homework drawer contains ONLY what they need to work on that day. It keeps things simple and uncluttered so they can easily see and grab exactly what they need.
Just around the corner from this is our dining table, where the kids sit to do their homework. It’s literally only a few steps away from the schoolbag station – one advantage of living in a small house! – so it’s easy for them to pull out their homework and take it straight to the table.
There’s a big set of cupboards right next to the dining table – not all that pretty to look at, but definitely practical for stashing all of their homework supplies. This is where we’ve set up their homework station.
If you don’t have existing storage space near your homework area, you may have to get a little more creative. You don’t need much space – just room for a few stationery supplies.
We stock pencils (graphite and colour), rubbers, sharpeners, glue sticks, tape, scissors, rulers and paper. A few tins on a shelf above a table would be fine, or a rolling cart that tucks out of the way when they’re done.
This cupboard also functions as a craft cupboard. (I’ll give you a full tour one day!) But for today, we’ll stick to the shelf where the kids homework supplies are kept.
On top is a tape dispenser, stapler, and my labelmaker.
I like that the bottom drawer is deeper than the rest, so there’s room for some little containers and small baskets to help divide supplies.
Gluesticks, pens, and a basket for rubbers and sharpeners live in this drawer. Kids seem to be a magnet for novelty rubbers… they come home in every party bag. But they do all get used (eventually!)
I found that we were always scrambling to find lead pencils for homework time, so I grabbed a pencil cup and bought a whole box of pencils to stock up our supplies.
Pencils seem to go wandering in our house, so buying them by the box and keeping a big stash within easy reach has been a game changer for us! It’s the little things, isn’t it?! 😉
Most days, all the kids need to do their homework is a pencil and a rubber, so I made sure those were right at their fingertips.
The pencil cup lives in a narrow caddy – very useful for making the most of awkward spaces! The caddy pulls out to reveal less-used craft supplies such as craft glue, glitter glue and chalks.
Beside this caddy we slot our rulers. These are also used frequently to rule up exercise books.
We use wooden magazine holders to store the kids’ colouring books. There’s also a magazine holder for educational resources such as dry-erase writing books, alphabet workbooks and scissor skills pads.
We’ve had these magazine holders for years, and they’re still going strong – long after our cardboard ones have all disintegrated! I love how sturdy these are, especially when kids are using and abusing them daily.
You can see how neatly the little caddy slots in between the magazine holders and the acrylic drawers. We had to make use of every inch of space in this cupboard. I like how we can pull out the caddy so nothing gets lost down the back in that narrow space.
A Lazy Susan from Howard’s Storage World holds buckets of coloured pencils, felt pens, scissors and crayons.
It’s handy to be able to spin it around to see what’s at the back, and the kids frequently grab out a single bucket to put on the table.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find this product on the Howard’s site to link to – perhaps it’s been discontinued? But Amazon have some divided caddies that would serve a similar purpose.
We use another set of stackable drawers from Officeworks to store paper on the next shelf down. The deep drawer is useful for storing an entire ream of A4 paper. We seem to go through a lot of it in this house – not only for printing; the kids are forever pulling out a sheet to draw on or fold paper planes.
Below that, shallow drawers hold white and coloured card.
So that’s it – our little homework station. It’s simple, but it saves us a lot of stress in the afternoons. Everything the kids need is within easy reach and they can help themselves.
If there’s any way to remove an impediment at homework time, I’m all for it. Now if only we could remove those reluctant attitudes as well! Ha!
Here’s a list of all the supplies I used to make our homework station. If I couldn’t find the exact same product we used, I linked to the most similar alternative I could find.
Homework station supplies
If you found this post useful, make sure you check out our DIY school bag storage station as well. It was a quick little furniture hack that cost hardly anything and has been a complete game changer for our school mornings!
Back to school series
Until next time, wishing you a house full of sunshine! And good luck for the first week back of school. 😉