top of page

Four Fun Hacks for Homework Hub Success

What’s a Homework Hub? While I would love to tell you that a Homework Hub is a magical place to which you can transport your child where all of their homework will get done efficiently with zero drama, that would be a lie.

That said, a Homework Hub, once it’s set up and being used properly, may truly seem like such a great solution that one could justifiably suspect some sort of witchcraft was at play.

A Homework Hub is simply an agreed-upon space in your home where your child always does homework and has a collection of frequently-employed school supplies at the ready to facilitate their progress.

And why will a Homework Hub work like a charm? Homework Hubs work because, as is true for adults, kids benefit from having consistent, non-negotiable routines and specific spaces for doing specific tasks. Instituting a routine around not only when but where children do homework helps their brains switch back into work mode in the same way that you are able to shift focus to your job when you arrive at your workplace or settle into your home office.

Most kids, even those with excellent executive functioning skills, can’t always set up a system for themselves at home because, well, there are a lot of distractions at home. Pets, toys, electronics, siblings, and snacks all hold the potential to become obstacles to getting that homework done. And then there is the inescapable fact that they are not doing their homework in a classroom setting, which means that they probably are inclined to take advantage of the (infinitely more comfortable than their desks at school) furniture options available to them at home. I don’t know about your offspring, but mine, if given free reign, would have happily done their homework in a variety of spaces that were, to my teacher’s brain, clearly not ideal.

Do my math in bed? Sure!

Write my essay while sitting on the floor of my bedroom in a pile of stuffed animals? Yes!

Read the history assignment while lounging upside down on the couch? You betcha.

I have nothing against being comfortable, but obviously, at least to the adults in the house, none of the above “workspaces” were supporting learning in ways that resulted in my children doing their own best work on every assignment. Plus, whenever they needed markers or lined paper or blank paper or highlighters or tape or any of the other school supplies that homework so often requires, they would have to stop their work and extricate themselves from their dens of homework coziness to waste time tracking down the necessary supply.

Clearly, leaving my kids to their own devices was not an option, and, frankly, I was growing tired of engaging them in conversations about their questionable workspace choices. Initially, they weren’t happy about the expectation to work at the Homework Hubs we set up. There was a fair amount of protest (think: lighted torches and sharpened pitchforks) over the course of that first week, but when they realized that improving their ability to get the work done resulted in an increased amount of free time on weeknights, they were sold. The torches were extinguished, and the pitchforks went back into the shed.

So what are the four fun Homework Hub hacks? Okay, so I promised “hacks,” which these are, but you should know that the process of setting up your child’s Homework Hub will be, no way around it, a process. In order to figure out the right set up for the student or students in your household, you will have to do a bit of investigation and experimentation, but here are four fun hacks you can use to get to a place of Homework Hub happiness a bit faster.

Hack #1- Check in with your child

Maybe the spot your child already prefers to do homework can be the Homework Hub! Your older child may already have a desk of their own, or, perhaps, all of your kids do their homework at the kitchen table. If so, lucky you does not need to launch a full investigation to locate a new space or partner (read: argue) with your child to agree on a new workspace.

Of course, if your youngsters are anything like mine were, meaning that they currently gravitate toward a couch on which they assume a reading position that resembles an anti-gravity experience, you are going to need to help them find a place at a table or desk in a shared space.

I should also note that for kids who have desks in their bedroom, you are most likely going to want to move that desk into a shared space. Your child may have a compelling and proven track record of successful, unmonitored homework completion; however, there are undeniable benefits to completing homework in a family space. For instance, older students have the potential to serve as good role models and work buddies for their younger siblings. Being in shared space will also enable you, the parent, to monitor your child’s on-screen focus, as teenagers are likely to get derailed by texting or online temptations such as games, Tik Tok, or online shopping.

Hack #2- Use a tote for additional school supplies

Once you assess the school supplies your child generally requires to complete work, collect them and then find a tote to corral them in the space. If you use a portable tote rather than individual coffee cups, bins, and the like, it will make it far easier and more convenient for your child to keep the space tidy and organized. You will also find it less of a chore to transform your dining room table or kitchen island back into, you know, a dining room table or kitchen island. Just store the tote out of the way while you utilize the space for its original purpose!

For younger children, who often require fewer supplies, a small tote, say no larger than a shower caddy, is ideal, as they can carry and organize it on their own. For older elementary students, look for larger totes such as art supply organizers that offer more options for keeping supplies orderly with a no-fuss pocket system that your child can even take with them when they leave for college.

Hack #3- Set up a calendar to track your child’s success

I am a big fan of data when it comes to tracking how long it takes kids to do any school-related task. If you want actual evidence that your child’s Homework Hub is strategically located in a place that best supports learning, timing their progress as they move through each assignment and recording it on a calendar is vital. Not only will you be able to calculate an accurate average of how long it takes them to complete each type of homework over the course of the week, you can track whether or not they become increasingly efficient as they settle into the new Homework Hub. If you notice that your child is less able to focus in the space due to distractions like family conversations, pets, the television in the next room, or what’s outside a window next to them, you can experiment with other potential locations until you hit on the one that’s right for your child.

Hack #4- Reward consistency

I’ll go on record to say that I am generally the first to object to giving kids rewards for stuff that they are totally capable of doing but just don’t want to. That does not mean that I am firmly anti-reward. Rewards can be a great way to reinforce new expectations, especially for kids with weak executive functioning skills who find anything new in a routine a particular challenge until they achieve mastery.

As consistent use of the Homework Hub is key to improving the homework experience for everyone in the household, I encourage you to create a reward system your family can embrace and stick to in order to provide additional motivation for your child to use the Homework Hub consistently and to keep it tidy.

Your child may feel that the added personal time they gain is reward enough, so don’t fill their newfound minutes with additional household chores. (Of course, they need to do whatever chores for which they are currently responsible!) If your child will benefit from earning a different kind of perk, partner with them to come up with a varied list of fun treats they can earn such as fifteen-twenty minutes of basketball with you in the driveway or a family board game or movie night. Given the extensive research against using food as a reward, you may want to keep snacks or desserts in the mix but in a way that de-prioritizes them or you can avoid offering food as a reward altogether.

Below is a checklist you can use to partner with your child as you choose, outfit, and practice using a Homework Hub:

Author’s Note: If you’ve read any of my other articles, you are already aware of my steadfast, research-supported argument that schools should stop assigning homework. Unfortunately, America has yet to integrate that best practice into our education system, which means that those of us with school-aged children continue to be tasked with some level of monitoring the completion of our children’s homework pretty much every weekday evening, and sadly over weekends and vacations, over the course of each school year.

5 views0 comments


bottom of page