Our Everything-is-there Study Station within Space Constraints: Tips for parents

(Last updated Jan 2016)

I am pretty sure many parents out there have an area for their child to study or do their work. However, often, this area might be a common area shared by many people in the house. To study well, we should have an area designated for the child to do his or her work and necessary tools which will facilitate in them studying.

I know there are a lot of articles that recommend that we should take away all forms of distraction for any child in their study area, like bare walls and rooms. Sadly, I don’t stay in a palace. :p Since our home isn’t very big, C’s study area is shared by all of us in the house. I have our study desk, book shelves at one side of the room, C’s bicycle at one end of the room and our bags hanging in the other side.

However, with a little organisation and imagination, I believe it is still possible to have a ‘Everything-is-there’ study station or desk, which is conducive enough for the child.

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This is our study station. I will provide a brief description on the things I have on the desk as well as how I use them. Do read on to find out about my parental tips for study area as well.

Picture on the left:

  • This is the setting of the table for our daily lessons.
  • Contrary to most table settings, C sits on the shorter end of the table. I use a cushion, which is actually his old pillow placed on the back of the chair, to ensure that when C is seated, his legs are flat on the floor. This helps with penmanship.
  • I’ll sit on the pink chair and all the things we need are within my reach.

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Picture on the right:

(Breakdown of things I have from top to bottom)

  • I recycled an Innisfree box (23cm by 18cm) using the cover and the bottom of the box to place everything I need. It’s a good way to teach them about the 3R’s in time to come – Reuse, Recycle, Reduce
  • In the box, there is a glue tape, flash cards and ‘impressive’ chop
    • I use glue tape or white glue depending on whether I want to do massive cleaning that lesson.
    • The flash cards are made up of 1000 frequency words. I typed out all the words and laminated them individually on a card. The purpose is to enhance C’s recognition of the words which he does not necessary know its meaning. I will get him to read about ten English words and ten Mandarin words each time. I will add an additional card when he is able to read a word accurately for three times. I will remove the word that he has gained mastery from the pack.
    • The ‘impressive’ chop is an extrinsic incentive for C to chope on his work.
  • I have two white boards, a pack of whiteboard markers and two whiteboard dusters.
    • The first board is for me to write down the agenda or activities for the lesson. C will erase the activity from the board when we are done with the activity. The other board is for random writing of stuff.
    • I use different colour markers for different purposes. Black for agenda-writing. Red for correction. Blue for writing things on the other white board. This differs again when I am getting him to do ‘I want to talk about’. I will use black for first point and blue for the elaborated point.
    • The bigger duster is for me and the smaller one is for C.
  • Cover of Innisfree – Pencil box with additional crayons and colour pencils. These are the jumbo-size ones. Spring for C to play when he gets bored. Sharpener. There’s a pen for me to write in his books.
  • Pencil case – eraser, Crayola junior colour pencils, Jumbo writing pencil with indent for kids to place their fingers (C dislikes those pencil grip. This pencil is awesome for the indent is on the pencil already), and normal writing-pencil
  • Colouring tools – Normal size colour pencils, rewards stickers, Crayons, colour pencils, Giotto twist crayons
  • Three rulers made of different length and materials. I use different materials to get C used to the different materials in things.
  • Shape-drawing stencils – I have three different types. They are normally used in primary or secondary school but I find these really useful in training C’s penmanship, wrist strength, and coordination between left and right hand.

I know this might seem a bit extensive especially the different colouring tools but I believe in exposing him and getting him used to the different materials out there. We started out with jumbo colouring pencils, crayons, and writing pencils. I move on slowly to smaller pencils. He has yet to master writing or colouring with the normal-sized pencils and all but we are slowly getting there.

Tips for parents:

  1. Table – getting kids to write or do work on the dining table is a no-no for me. For good writing to take place, the posture must be there. For the good posture to happen, the child’s leg must touch the floor. If you need to use a dining table, use an empty box/stool to let the child rest his or her leg. The child’s back should be close to 90 degrees when seated on the chair. Take note of the hands. elbow and hands should be higher than the table top. Prolonged used of tables which are too high or low will cause the child to have stiff shoulders.
  2. Seating arrangement – I believe in teaching my child, it is easier for him to be seated at the shorter end of the table. The limited space between the chair and the table when the chair is pushed in will also mean he cannot move around too much.
  3. Crayon – buy the jumbo crayons or the twist crayons first. Jumbo for firmer grip, twist crayons for less mess.
  4. Colour pencils – we started with Crayola jumbo pencils as well. We are still unable to progress to the normal Faber-Castell ones but I train him to draw circles and squares using the Faber-Castell ones.
  5. Sharpener – I use the Faber-Castell sharpener which has three different sharpening holes. The smaller one we see in the picture is used for me to train C’s wrist and coordination skills rather than really sharpening
  6. Stencils – Apart from all the OT activities that I do with C, I personally believe the stencil-drawing helps. Just five or six shapes a day will be sufficient. The different sizes will force the child to cope with the different movement of the shoulder, wrist and elbow.
  7. White writing board –  You can use this or the schedule board which both serve its purpose. I used to use the schedule board but stopped after I got too lazy to print out more ‘icons’.

That’s all people. I hope this entry is useful for parents who are thinking about how to organise their child’s study station within limited space. Feel free to write to me if you require more information on any of the things that I use.

C's recent work at the desk. Pretty awesome, in my opinion! :)
C’s recent work at our ‘Everything-is-there’ study desk. Pretty awesome, in my opinion! 🙂

 

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