Student Strategy: Five Things Your Child's Desk or Study Area Needs


A child’s study area should be comfortable for them and “fit” them. That means their feet should touch the floor (or a stool) and the chair should be high enough for their elbows to rest on the desk at an almost 90 degree angle.The following five things will also help them be more efficient and maybe even get their homework done sooner.

1. Good lighting is the number one thing your child needs in this area. The light should be white and not yellow and not buzz. It should be positioned over the desk area and not on the ceiling as the light will be behind your child’s head, casting a shadow. A good light can prevent eye strain.

2. A large desk or counter space where your child can spread out a book and a notebook without having to stack them. It is difficult to read and write when you have to keep moving things around.

3. Supplies should be within arm’s reach. The important things like a highlighter, ruler, pens, pencils, eraser, stapler, notebook paper, three hole punch, sticky notes, scissors and post it flags should all be nearby. If you child has to get up to get something then it may take up to 15 minutes to get his brain back into the kind of focus he had before he got up. A large trash can is also essential.

4. Calendar of the current month to use to plan out long term projects, keep track of upcoming tests, appointments and sports schedules. Having a month to look at provides a better picture of what is coming up so they can see what is important. Having the term ending dates and the progress report dates and no school days is also helpful.

5. Files for each subject or one giant one for the year is helpful (depending on the grade level) to keep tests and quizzes and last term’s notes to use as a study guide. Often times when kid’s clean out their backpacks they throw away anything that is not that night’s homework. This is a big mistake! Those tests and quizzes should be reviewed and corrected to be sure your child is not misunderstanding a major concept that could show up later. Older students need to save them for midterms and finals. You, the parent, may want to save them so that the term grade is not a surprise to you either.

Reprinted from our March newsletter. Sign up here. Need help getting your child through the last term of the school year? Come join us tonight at the Hingham Library at 7pm for strategies to help.

Six Tips for Making the Most of Study Time

September is back to school and that means studying and homework for many children and some adults.  To start the year off on a positive note here are six tips for making the most of your study time:

1. Clear off the top of the desk to provide enough space to fit an open book and a notebook. Remove unnecessary objects to eliminate visual distractions.

2. Keep all frequently used supplies within arm’s reach either on top of the desk in an organized holder or in a nearby drawer. Keep pencils sharpened and ready to go.

3. Set a daily study time and make it a habit.

4. Use a quiet timer (analog for young children or use a time timer) and set it for 30 minutes of working time. Then take a 5-10 minute break. This helps the brain process information, maintains motivation and improves the ability to focus. Most adults can only focus for 90 minutes without a break.  Work smarter not harder.

5.  Check to be sure the desk and chair are ergonomically correct for the user. If a child’s feet do not touch the floor when the chair is raised to the appropriate height then add a footstool for support. Also be sure to check for proper lighting to reduce eye strain. The light should not be coming from behind as it casts a shadow.

6.  When all work is completed be sure to put back all items that were used. Put books and homework into backpack or briefcase and set it by the door. By cleaning off the desk and putting everything away, you are completing the task, saving time in the morning and preparing your work space for the next day. Happy Studying!

NEW! Learning Logistics Class starts October 18th. Improve your grades and learn easy strategies for tackling your homework efficiently. Call (781) 659-0513 or email

Quick tip: Create “in” boxes for each member of the family. Use baskets, bins or magnetic magazine holders. Children can put papers that need to be seen or signed in the parent’s box. After reviewing, the parent can place them into the student’s box. Be sure the student empties the box each evening and puts everything needed into the backpack to return to school. Placing the backpack (fully loaded) near the door used will reduce the last minute morning rush.