This shop sharing how to create a functional homework station has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #BTSwithHP #CollectiveBias
I can’t believe we’re headed back to school already. Summer has just heated up in Chicago, but come Monday, I will have a sixth and a seventh grader. Things have changed so much since I was in middle school. First, I attended junior high, not middle school. And more notably? The technology involved calculators. Computers lived in labs, and we used them just to type English papers.
Now, technology is key to success in school. When we did the walk throughs this week to prep for school, we didn’t pick up textbooks. Why not? Because our school has no textbooks this year. Everything is digital. Books are online. Forget homework planners; it’s online. He completes and submits homework online. Do you sense a theme?
Of course, it was during the walk throughs that I realized I forgot to buy school supplies. There’s nothing like waiting until the last minute, right? Fortunately, I know that I can still swing into Walmart to grab everything I need. Before we went, the wee ones reviewed the supply lists and determined what they already had.
When I walked into the office to check on their progress, my blood pressure sky rocketed. The office has always been the bane of my existence, but I’m done. This year, so much is different at school, and I need things to be different at home, too. Their desks store everything that doesn’t have a home. When it’s time for homework, they simply push things to the side and start to work. I thought I’d created a homework station just by having a desk available to them, but it’s not that simple.
This year, I created a functional homework station that won’t offer any distractions. They can complete homework faster, and nothing will get lost. Last year, my son (more than once) forgot about homework and that impacted his grades. I have a plan, and we’re implementing both technology and old fashioned tactics to ensure both kids have a successful year.
[bctt tweet=”Check out these tips on creating a functional homework station for #BTS and the great free #printable homework tracker!” username=”honestandtruly”]
The first step was heading to Walmart to pick up our school supplies. They always have everything we need at great prices, and that includes the HP All-in-One computer I picked up for them to make homework easier. It’s a compact (and so cute!) computer that includes the power they need and want to get their schoolwork done efficiently. Walmart has a ton of all new HP computers available for back to school. You’ll easily find exactly what you need, just like I did!
At $349, this all new computer is a budget-friendly All-in-One (yay, no one accidentally kicks the tower under the desk) that HP has redesigned to give everyone what they need. It’s reliable, and setup was super fast, making it reading to work in no time flat. It’s perfect for surfing, streaming, or completing that next big homework assignment that I know is coming soon. I’m a huge HP fan (my printer, my laptop, another desktop…), and I know I can count on the quality of HP products. This HP All-in-One has been backed by over 100 tests, so I know it can stand up to anything the wee ones can dish out!
I love the concept of an All-in-One computer, and this one is so pretty! The new elevated stand makes it even more stable on a desk, and the ripple pattern on the casing makes it a stylish addition to our homework station. It’s a workhorse, too, as it has the latest Intel® Celeron® processor J3060, and a 500 GB 7200RPM SATA hard drive for plenty of storage for all the videos and other fun assignments they create and store in middle school.
Once I got it home, I realized I had some work cut out for me before I could turn my son’s mess of a desk into a functional homework station. His desk was a disaster. I thought we had it organized, but it was too easy for him to just drop and run. This year, I learned from his challenges, and back to school is the perfect time to implement some changes.
How to Create a Functional Homework Station
Prepare the desk
The first step is to clear everything off the desk. I created three piles. The first was items that belonged on his desk. The second was items that needed to find new homes like the model airplane he built. The last category was everything that he needed to sort through. In the end, he estimated that 20% of the items actually belonged in his desk area. The other 80% was primarily trash (gah!) and items that belong elsewhere in our house.
Once I cleared his des, I did a deep cleaning of the desk itself. We literally and figuratively started with a clean slate.
Minimize what you include on the workspace
I set up the new HP All-in-One in the corner of his desk. It was so easy. The mouse and keyboard plugged into USB ports, and the power went into an obvious spot. From there, it was just turning the new computer on and following the prompts on the screen. Ten minutes later, we were in business! Its small footprint ensures his computer doesn’t take over his desk, plus its functionality helps him get his homework done.
We used to have a small holder for his pens and pencils, but this grew to hold all sorts of items, and he had to dig around in it each time he needed something from there. Needless to say, this created its own mess. Instead, I found a great desk organizer with different spaces to hold and organize different items. His math needs go in one pocket, the mechanical pencils all stand up together, his sticky notes have a home, etc. Figure out the kinds of things you need regular access to, and make sure you have an organizer that fits those needs.
Next up was his new desk lamp. The old light was a hand me down from I don’t even know where. It was a bulky table lamp that didn’t provide good light. I found a great LED desk lamp at Walmart with a built-in USB port so he can charge devices directly on his desk, limiting the mess. With all his after school activities, more often than not, he’s doing homework when it’s dark outside and needs proper lighting.
Find alternative storage solutions
The key is to leave enough room on the desk to ensure there is adequate space to work. I wanted nothing more on desk, but his quiz bowl materials and Boy Scout book and merit badge qualifications need to stick somewhat near his desk. We tried leaving a slot organizer on his desk, but that quickly turned into a place to jam everything. Instead, I took that organizer and hung it on the wall next to his desk. This left room on the desk to work and still allowed him to keep other items nearby. My other secret? I labeled the shelves, so only items that belong there will (ideally) be put there. Since it’s hanging, it’s harder to just dump stuff there, too!
Hang a laminated homework printable in a visible position
This printable completes our functional homework station. With everything online at school, that includes homework assignments from teachers. My son missed homework and didn’t turn it in too often last year because he forgot or didn’t notice something. This year, he’ll write down assignments each day for each class directly. If a class has no homework, he needs to note that, too. The printable I created includes space daily assignments and long term assignments. This year, he needs to learn to prioritize those projects that have two weeks to get done and not ignore them until the night before. I know I’m not the only mom who struggles with this challenge!
To ensure he doesn’t forget to fill out the homework printable each day, I used cute magnets I picked up to attach it to the hanging metal organizer. He needs to just turn his head left to see what he has to do instead of switching from screen to screen on his new HP All-in-One. I know I’ll have to remind him daily at the start of the year, but eventually he’ll internalize this habit!
I customized the homework printable for my son, but I also have a blank version so you can use it for your own children. Print this document and fill in the classes you need. Laminate it so you can reuse it all year long, and make sure your child has it somewhere he can’t miss it with dry erase markers, and make sure he uses it. Download your own daily tracking printable here.
I had a few extra magnets, so I stuck those onto the metal organizer, as well. He can use those to keep track of his school reward “cash” before he spends it and other reminders he needs to keep nearby. No matter what, it’s off his desk, which keeps his homework station organized so he can finish his homework more easily and with fewer distractions.
How can you use a new HP computer to make your back to school routine easier?
If you fell in love with your HP computer like my family did, visit Walmart to share your thoughts! Leave an online review and encourage other families to shop smart this back to school season!