Central Florida new home

A wall in your kitchen can be turned into a simple DIY drop zone to keep school papers and backpacks off the table. (photo courtesy of Heidi Richards, mother of two)

Here in Florida, the school year has officially started. Whether you have little ones just starting school or older children, this means there are backpacks, lunch boxes, textbooks and homework assignments to keep organized – not to mention sports equipment and musical instruments, if your kids participate in those activities.

Keeping everything organized is important not only for your children’s routine and productivity, but your own sanity! Designated backpack and homework areas are one way to create an environment for after-school organization and academic success. Whether you have a spare bedroom or use the dining room table, we have some great tips to keep your household organized and foster productive study habits.

The drop zone

We know… the kids walk in, the backpacks and shoes come off, and suddenly the home you work so hard at keep clean looks like a storm has struck.

A solution for this is a drop zone. This is a space in your home designed specifically for dropping off backpacks, jackets, shoes, keys, mail and other odds and ends before they find themselves scattered throughout the rest of your home.

A drop zone should be located near the entrance of your home, such as the foyer, utility room or hallway. We offer several Florida home plans with drop zones built-in including the Arcadia, Parker, Goldie, and Oleander.

If your home doesn’t have a drop zone built in, Stacey Perez, Manager of the Highland Homes Personal Selection Studio and mother of three, suggests adding hooks near the entrance where your kids come in. Bins in a bench or cube organizer can be used for shoes and sports equipment, and hanging wall organizers are a solution to tame bring-home folders, art projects or anything else your kids may be carrying when they come into the house.

The command center

Uh oh…. It’s Sunday night and you forgot about somebody’s school project due tomorrow!

The most essential piece of a command center is a calendar and message board, preferably one that’s erasable. We like chalk boards or dry erase boards. And, now with the advent of chalkboard paint, the creative possibilities are endless. Find an area in your Central Florida new home that you see every day to keep tasks, events and due-dates in sight.

Keep important papers like field trip information, permission slips, teacher requests, etc. in a letter tray or wall pocket organizer, and toss paperwork once it’s no longer needed to prevent clutter.

The homework area

A designated homework area in your home is a way for children to get in a routine that promotes organization, productivity and good grades. Creating a regular time and place for homework helps kids to avoid distractions, develop a schedule and avoid procrastination. According to the US Department of Education, setting up the right environment for homework includes finding a fairly quiet location with good lighting, proper supplies and minimal distractions.

A homework area can be simple; here are some necessities for a successful space:

  • All the supplies needed should be close at hand so that they don’t have to get out of their seat – this includes paper, scissors, pencils and pens
  • Computer access (with proper security monitoring)
  • Organization solutions such as shelves, drawers or a file box
  • Caddies or canisters to stash pens and pencils
  • A trash can to keep clutter clear
  • Supportive and comfortable seating
  • Keep the space wide enough to spread out for projects
  • Turn off the TV or have it in an area away from TV distraction
  • Make sure the lighting in the room is appropriate and comfortable
  • Have a set study time so homework becomes a habit

 

The ultimate solution is to turn a spare bedroom into a study room. If you have a spare room, ask yourself a few questions prior to setting it up. Who is going to use it – just children, or also adults? What activities does the space need to accommodate? A room can be used by multiple people at once and include a homework table for the kids, as well as office space for adults, and a comfy reading corner for everyone to enjoy.

If you do not have a spare room to use, find an appropriate space in a common room or bedroom. It can be the corner of the family room, an upstairs loft, or the kitchen table, if necessary. You can even turn a closet into a pocket office. You have to find an area which will work the best for your family and home; the most important thing is for the space to have a tabletop, supplies and be quiet and free from distractions such as the TV or people walking in and out during homework time. For parents, homework time is a great time to catch up on emails, pay bills, read or do other quiet tasks which set a good “study” example.

If you’re using a wood desk or dining table, a piece of Plexiglas will help protect the top of furniture, and photos, art or motivational messages can be placed between the glass and tabletop.

Create something special by personalizing the space; make it a place the student will want to spend time. Bright colors are stimulating and foster creativity, whereas soft colors help to sooth and relax. Allowing your children to add their own personal artwork will help the space feel more like their own.

Check out our Pinterest board to see examples of setting up a homework area, command center and drop zone. Routine and repetition helps children learn self discipline which greatly contributes to personal success in life. The study habits learned now will stay with them their whole lives.

At Highland Homes, we are proud to build quality new homes throughout Central, North Central, Southwest and Tampa Bay, Florida that are designed with modern and easy-living features for today’s homeowner. We offer more than 30 home plans to choose from with pricing from the low-$100,000s to the low-$300,000s, and with options ranging from low-maintenance townhomes to luxurious estate homes on expansive home sites. Open living areas, flexible rooms, drop zones and outdoor living spaces contribute to enjoying time with friends and family.

For more information about Highland Homes and to discover how you can build your own personalized new home in Florida, visit www.HighlandHomes.org.