There is no quick and easy way to get kids to do homework, but these stations might eliminate some of the excuses and avoidance tactics kids sometimes use. In addition to being portable, they are fun and easy to put together-you certainly don't have to dress them up as much as I did-but I don't have girls, so I love the excuse to make something girly once in a while.
Some things I like about this idea:
- All supplies are in one place. No more "I can't find a pencil! I need glue!" and so on. This prevents the child from having to embark on the dangerous supply safari, from which they may never return...
- The sign on the front flips back and forth between "Working on it!" to "I'm done!". This may be an incentive in itself for some kids. It also allows the parent to see how it's coming without having to nag as much, shifting the responsibility for making sure it gets done more to the child.
- There is now a specific place for homework to be deposited when it comes in the door, and a place to leave it when it's done out of the dog's reach. If used regularly, it will become a habit to check their station for completed homework as they head out the door.
- I always work better when things are organized-and cuteness makes me want to use it even it if it's for a task I'm not looking forward to all that much. I think the same applies for kids.
- This idea is easily customized to fit the needs of your child, any box or container from a decorated cereal box to a little basket will work. Just fill it with supplies that are used often, and decorate it up with something the child likes. Involve the child and they'll be even more likely to use it.
I color-coded the baskets and items in the baskets so each girl knew who the item belonged to. In addition to a pencil case full of things like scissors, glue sticks, colored pencils, pens etc. I added a ruler, and a blinged-up monogramed notebook. The cover is removable so the notebook can be replaced as it is used up. If the girls had been older, I might have included a calculator and calendar.
To make the crate liner:
I used some mini milk crates that were going for $1 during the back-to-school sales. They were ok, but I wanted to line them to help contain items, and to spiff them up a bit. These instructions include dimensions for the mini crate I used, but can be used to make a liner for most straight-sided containers. If you want to line a basket that narrows at the bottom and don't know how to adjust the pattern, make a straight-sided liner based on the widest point, then insert the liner into the container with the seams towards you. Pin the seams to fit your container, and re-sew the seams. Do this before hemming the liner or inserting elastic.
1. Measure the opening of the container you want to line. The mini crate I used had an opening of 8x6 3/4". Halve both measurements, and in the corner of a piece of tissue or larger paper draw a box using these dimensions (mine was 4x3 3/8").
2. Measure the height of the interior of the container. The mini crate I had was 6" tall. Extend both lines by that amount.
3. Draw a line parallel to the height lines to form your seam allowance line. I put my seam allowance at 1/2".
|Your completed pattern should look similar to this.|
6. Fold fabric so two adjacent cuts are together, and sew. Repeat for each side, so your fabric forms a box.
7. Trim extra fabric from the corner and press seam open.Check fit at this point.
7. Create a rolled hem around the top by folding the fabric over 1/2 or 1/4 inch, depending on how thick you want the hem (be sure to allow enough room to thread your elastic through). Fold over again, press and sew. on the corners, create a rounded corner by rolling it as shown in the photo. Trim extra fabric at the corners if needed. If threading elastic through the hem using a safety pin, leave one opening, if using a threader (I love these!), leave another opening halfway around. The corners can be a bit tricky to thread elastic through, so if you keep all the folds going the same direction it helps. Another option is to set your machine on a zig-zag the same width as the elastic, and sew the elastic to the inside edge of the fabric, pulling the elastic taut as you sew to create a gather. The unfinished edge can be hidden by ric-rac or ribbon once it is on the container.
9. Thread elastic through the hem and sew ends together. Finish hem by stitching the opening.
10. Place liner into container and adjust the gather so it is even.