How to Create a Good Study Environment at Home

As coronavirus cases rise around the world, people are preparing themselves for a possible outbreak in their community. In that event, health officials may recommend temporarily closing schools to slow the spread of infection.

Ask about the emergency plan at your child’s school or daycare. Then, create a plan of your own. Start by making sure your child has a quiet study area in your house to do schoolwork. "Being in a special learning space helps children to focus," says HMH Chief Research Officer Francie Alexander. "As they settle in, have them set goals, such as 'read two chapters' or 'tackle a math problem.'" 

Building a Study Room or Space

Here are four steps for creating the ideal study environment. 

1. Choose the Perfect Spot

Find a quiet corner of the house away from entryways and out of earshot of the TV or other distractions. If you can, avoid centers of family activity, such as the kitchen and living room. If that’s not possible, ask other family members to steer clear for the day. Look for empty spaces or even cluttered areas that could provide you with an excuse to do some spring cleaning. Be sure the space is well lit. 

2. Add a Comfy Chair or Two

You don’t need a traditional desk and chair. Bean bags, video game rockers, an oversized pillow—any of these could do the trick. Provide a few options, so your child can move around as the mood strikes. If your child doesn’t use a laptop or tablet, a simple clipboard or a portable lap desk could serve as a writing surface. A hardcover book or magazine, a coffee table, or the seat of a wooden chair could work, too.


3. Gather Supplies

Fill colorful mugs or plastic cups with pencils, pens, highlighters and other tools your child might need during the day. Use small plastic bins to organize different types of supplies: a ruler, erasers, scissors, glue, and stapler in one bin, and lined or construction paper in another. Provide colored folders, one for finished work and another for work in progress.

4. Give It Some Style

Let your child personalize the space with a handmade “Do Not Disturb” or “Student at Work” sign. Your child might also create artwork along with a work/break schedule to hang on a wall. A family photo, houseplant, or poster of a favorite athlete, pop star, or movie character could also help your child feel a sense of ownership over the productive study space.

Aim for a comfortable, organized study nook that reflects your child’s personality, and the transition to doing schoolwork at home should be headache-free.

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To help you continue teaching and learning during the current outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19), visit our At-Home Learning Support page for free resources.

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