Homework on the Run: 3 Must-haves for Your Portable Study Station

You pick up your child from school a little earlier than usual. He’s got an audition for a national commercial and you need the extra time to make sure you’re not late. It’s a tight schedule today! There’s the commute, the waiting room, the audition itself, the commute home and, if you can pull it off, there’s karate class later tonight. 

And then there’s the homework. Between the work he missed during class because he left early and his regularly scheduled homework assignments, there’s a stack of schoolwork to be completed by tomorrow. When does that get done?  Here’s the good news: With a little preparation, you can create a study space even when you’re on the run. 

A homework tote
One of the biggest hindrances to doing homework on the road is not having access to the supplies you need. Start with a shower caddy, tote bag, or plastic bin. At the start of the school year, your child’s teacher may have given you a supply list. Any item on that list should be included in your homework tote. If you don’t have a specific list, start with these materials: lined paper, graph paper, pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, calculator, index cards, pencil sharpeners, glue sticks, and other school basics. Toss in a book light too. Your homework tote should be large enough to hold everything you need, yet small enough to be carried into the waiting room, if needed. 


A work surface
Your student is going to need a flat, stable surface to write on. If you opted for a plastic bin to hold your school supplies, it may be a workable solution. Your student may find, however, that a small lap-desk with a padded bottom and a firm top is more comfortable. 


A little mood music
Research on whether music helps or hinders the learning process is mixed. At least some of the studies that support a positive impact (or at least a neutral one), indicate that calming, soothing music is a good choice; while louder, jarring tunes can be a distraction. The deciding factor often comes down to our own personal work style. If music keeps your child from focusing on the tasks at hand, then avoid it during study time. On the other hand, if a sonata or a jazz piece or a favorite string of pop tunes helps him concentrate, then make sure you toss a pair of ear buds in the tote and load up the phone with a playlist of homework-friendly songs!   

Optional: Internet enabled device
For some students, homework may require accessing an online text book or researching online resources. If that’s the case, you may consider bringing along a laptop, tablet or phone with internet access.  Just remember, WiFi may not be readily available. 

Juggling school, auditions, and extra-curricular activities simply means having the flexibility to make use of the time you do have and the forethought to have on hand the tools you’ll need to make use of it. Join the discussion on academic performance and life as a young performer; visit us on Facebook and share your tips for balancing it all.