Clear the way

By admin
21 March 2014

Go to a little extra trouble now to organise your own and your child’s routine and enjoy a calmer year.

The study area

Homework should be done in the same place every day so set up a study area in a quiet part of your home that’s free of distractions.

  • Make sure the desk and chair are the right size; children should sit upright with their feet on the floor.
  • The ideal desk has two to three drawers. Avoid desks that flip open. Keep extra stationery in the top drawer and blank paper in the middle drawer. The bottom drawer can be used to store reference books such as dictionaries.
  • Kids should be encouraged to do their homework in the afternoon with natural light. But when they’re older some homework will be done in the evening. The best extra lighting is from lights that shine from above so they cast no shadows.

Homework stationary

  • Back-up stationery can be kept in a cutlery tray in the top drawer of the desk.
  • To limit distractions, keep stationery in this drawer to the absolute essentials: 2 blue pens, 2 HB pencils, 30 cm ruler, plain sharpener, plain eraser, 2 coloured pens, a set of 12 coloured pencils, glue stick and scissors.

The ultimate homework diary

A ringbinder containing these items:

  • Homework sheet

This helps to plan for the week ahead as well as for long-term assignments and tests. It should be attached to the inside cover of the binder with a bulldog clip. The sheet should be replaced every week and long-term assignments and tests carried over to the new sheet. Download the homework sheet from or design your own.

  • A transparent plastic pencil bag

The pencil case should carry only the absolute essentials: 2 blue pens, 2 HB pencils, plain sharpener, plain eraser, ruler, 2 coloured pens and tissues. All other stationery such as a set of coloured pencils, maths set, glue and scissors should be kept in a separate pencil case that’s kept in the school bag.

  • 3 plastic envelopes in various colours

The first envelope is used for “work to be done”. In this goes everything that has to come home from school – exercise books, worksheets and so on, as well as news- letters and invitations. If one envelope isn’t enough, add more in the same colour.

The second envelope is for “completed work”. Everything that has go to school from home goes in this envelope.

The third is for filing. Everything that doesn’t have another place goes in here, such as old tests and project instructions. Clear this file out once a week to avoid clutter.

  • 4 plastic sleeves

Use plastic sleeves at the back of the file to keep study guides, summaries or any reference material.


Get morning and evening routines streamlined this year. Use pictures to show the sequence of the morning or evening routine to help children get into the habit of doing these things for themselves. That way you don’t have to say the same things over and over.

Another way of doing this is to take photographs of your child doing the activities and print them. These pictures should be on display where your child can see them easily. In this way you can just refer to the sequence without having to nag. Download morning sequences from

Weekly planners

Some kids’ afternoons are hectic, and weekly planners help you to schedule time for homework and free time every day to make sure your children aren’t overscheduled after school. There are many ways to make these: use a white board, design your own or download one from Hang the weekly planner where your child can see it daily. These planners should be updated every term.

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