In order to bring order to the chaos of back to school time, here’s my advice for creating a home that can handle the job:
1. Designate a place for reminders, flyers, and misc. notes that come home from school. Is there a part of a wall somewhere that needs to turn into a bulletin board? Make sure there is a trash can near by so that it is easy to keep this space updated. If this ends up in the kitchen, make sure it does not interfere with the function of the kitchen. I see a lot of “piles gone wild” on countertops in the homes where I consult. Food preparation space has been overtaken by the school reminder pile. Everyone ends up frustrated in this situation.
2. Designate a permanent homework-friendly zone. This is the place where long term homework projects can remain “in the process” for a while without being disturbed. If you have more than one child, there may have to be individual zones for each one. School is your kid’s job. And just like you are designated a job space at work, your child needs a job space somewhere within the home where organizational thinking can take place. If you can create this space in the skills and knowledge area of a room or the home – so much the better (that’s the front left-hand space as you walk in the door.) I see a lot of kids doing their daily homework on the dining room table or at the counter in the kitchen. That’s fine, but I consider this a temporary work space. Besides this space, I’d like to see someplace – however small – that energetically holds the homework and homework necessities within the home (perhaps it is a milk crate-like bin in the pantry that holds everything.) Have a logical go-to place when someone says “Where’s my homework?” This is the mom’s drop place for homework and school related stuff when she sees the stuff out of it’s boundaries within the house. I’d like to see a place for reference material and full time homework aids too, so if this box or zone has to get out of the kitchen, do it.
3. Designate “a year’s-worth of storage” somewhere, where each child can collect their work throughout the year. This is, of course, the work that seems logical to save for a time. I’ve had some parents say to me that they save everything throughout the year because they had to prove to a teacher later that the child actually did the work (the teacher forgot to mark a grade, etc.) So, I’m thinking of this bin for that function – not as a bin to save everything forever! If you do save everything, just make sure you go through it when the year is over – don’t quietly put a lid on it and stuff it somewhere in the garage…you’ll be overrun by paper before you know it. Don’t forget my rule – nothing under the bed…perhaps this box could actually find a home in the garage or in a storage unit in the home office.
During consultations throughout the years, I have seen many little built-in or just regular desks in the kid’s rooms, where if the kid was doing their homework, they would have a wall about 18 inches in front of them. For all of these desks that I have seen – I have seen NONE actually being used as a homework desk. They are usually junk collecting and catch-all spaces. That’s because having your face 18 inches from a wall is VERY POOR FENG SHUI and kids just will not put up with it – they know better! So, if you are trying to create a homework-friendly environment, place a desk in the room so that the child’s back is to the wall and they have the breadth of the room in front of them. Hopefully they can see the door while seated, but are not in line with it. I’m not big on computers in the bedroom, but if it has to be there, bundle the cords to create the most aesthetically pleasing and safe space around the desk.
Here are some additional feng shui homework helpers:
1. Yellow is a great color to study around – paint the walls or the top of the desk. Or a simpler solution is to get a yellow blotter to place on top of the desk. People trained in ADD assistance use yellow color overlays to help steady the words on the page for those they are helping, so I’m sure there is some scientific study why this works…but all we care about is that it does!
2. Classical music – even if it is very low in the background, it can be a subconscious helper in the homework department. On the other hand, make sure the noise pollution (traffic outside, humming AC units, siblings fighting) is kept at a minimum as well.
3. No sloped ceilings, beams or fans overhead the homework space. I think I’ll invent a hat that has a mirror on the top of it (facing up) as a cure for these situations! The answer is to place a mirror face up somewhere between the person and the object overhead to repel it away if that’s the only place you have to use.
4. Proper light – a clear task light on the table can go a long way here – to keep the child “on task” and to help “shed some light” on the subject of the homework. And natural lighting is always a good idea to keep someone awake.
5. Make sure the actual chair is comfortable enough for the average homework sit.
6. Minimize distractions – no phone, Play station, TV, etc. within view.
7. The attic, ceiling and roof can equal the “head space” of the house. If you’ve got “cob webs upstairs” in your head, you might want to clean the real webs out of the attic spaces of your home.
I hope you find these feng shui tips helpful in creating a safe and empowering environment for you.