Working up an appetite for study
Get set for a successful school year with a comfortable and productive study space, writes Robyn Willis
Uniforms have been washed and checked for size, school lunches are back on the menu and you’ve made the trip to Officeworks for school supplies. Yes, it’s time to get back to work. For those starting or returning to high school, one of the key considerations is creating a suitable study space at home.
While not everyone has the space for a separate office — or even a desk in the bedroom — there are some simple steps you can take to help your student set up good working habits for the year.
Light on learning
Whereas most high school students would be used to moving from classroom to classroom, having a designated space for study at home is preferable to help them stay on task.
Although the style of it is a matter of personal taste, a space with access to good natural light and ventilation will help with concentration and reduce fatigue.
Good task lighting in the form of a desk lamp is a welcome addition.
Most parents know the value of a good desk coupled with an ergonomic chair.
Go for an adjustable chair on a swivel base if possible for greater flexibility and comfort that will keep your child alert and focused.
The kind of desk that best suits your student will depend on their study habits but, as a general rule, something sturdy with a few drawers for stationery is a good option. If you don’t have room for overhead shelving, look for a deep desktop for storing magazine or file holders and wire baskets and trays while still offering plenty of room for working.
Open storage systems are preferable — although they may require more tidying — to keep everything they need within easy access.
Don’t underestimate the value of old-school study systems such as wall calendars and planners where you can see everything at a glance.
Experiencing technical issues
Like it or not, technology is a central part of today’s learning. Having multiple power outlets and even wireless charging systems will ensure your student has everything at the ready for school the following day. It may also help them relax and stay focused to have music in their study space, so a combined radio, clock and iPod dock may be a worthwhile investment.
If their desk is in their bedroom, you might consider locating the charging dock in a central part of the house, like the hallway, to ensure they get a good night’s sleep.
While most parents are keen to create an optimum study space for their student, keep in mind that it’s their home, not the classroom.
Offer some creature comforts like floor cushions or a squishy beanbag or two to kick back and listen to some music, to read or to entertain friends when they drop by.
When temperatures drop, a heated throw rug is a great energy efficient option.
Family pets are often a great source of comfort to hardworking students so consider somewhere for them to rest in the room.
Studies have shown that indoor plants improve air quality, with hardy species such as the peace lily and mother-in-law’s tongue among the most effective.
If your student is reaching their final years of school or university, give them a say in how to decorate their space.
It may not be to your taste, but if it keeps them studying, you’ll learn to love it.
This laptop case from Typo keeps everything secure and is perfect for getting around campus.