Newbee Ehomework

The nook in our kitchen was organized at one point…and then we borrowed things from it for other spaces in the house. And then it just become a piling ground. My kids love to do art and all their homework on our kitchen table…and it’s ruining the top because they’re just rough on things! So I decided to turn the nook into a homework command center.

This is what it looked like before (plus, a shot showing how my 2 year old was always pulling out all the coloring books and spreading them all over the playroom).

Since we currently rent, we decided not to paint this time and I’ve really missed the “done” feeling painting rooms gives a home. So I had the idea to paint a chalkboard wall in the nook and get organized. One weekend and about $120 later, I feel so much better with the new set up. And the kids love it!

I had so much fun putting this together for them!

Here’s a breakdown of the supplies and costs:

  • Chalkboard Paint from Lowe’s – $10 (I only used half the can, so $5 if you count that!)
  • Two Wood Curtain Rods from Lowe’s – $15
  • Four packs of Cork Tiles from Target (4 tiles come in one pack) – $28
  • “S” Shower Hooks from Target – $10
  • Two file Folder Boxes from Target – $10
  • Six Tin Buckets from the Target Dollar Bins – $6
  • Three Jelly Baskets from Michael’s – $42 total by using a 25% off coupon

I started by taping off the area with painters tape and then started on painting. It took 3 coats to get nice, solid coverage.

After I removed the painters tape and the wall dried overnight, I seasoned the wall. All you have to do for this is rub chalk all over the wall and then wipe it off. Next, I hung the curtain rods so I knew how much room I had to work with for the typography. I had my heart set on using this Maya Angelou quote on the wall.

I always start a hand-lettering project by sketching out layout ideas. A simple trick to doing chalkboard art, more easily is to sharpen the chalk with a pencil sharpener. The walls are textured, so it was a little harder to do the art work than it would be on a smooth wall but not impossible!

Then I traced the lettering using a Elmer’s Painters Pen (which I already had in my craft room arsenal) to make it more visible and permanent, mostly because of the textured walls. After it dried, I wiped away any excess chalk.

At this point, I felt like the sides needed something extra so I walked around Target browsing and decided to use cork tiles since they’re not only inexpensive but also functional. They’re super easy to apply too. They come with peel and stick adhesive squares! I just measured and cut some of the tiles to piece each wall together to fit the space.

I also used colored chalk to write some basic math facts and the ABCs on the wall to add a pop of color.

Then, I hung the buckets/scissors on the rods using the shower “s” hooks and filled them with our art supplies. The cork board walls hold our “to do” folder of important paperwork and bills, our family calendar, a few pictures, and my son’s weekly spelling list. Each of our two oldest has a file folder box for current school work. By the time I have to work in space for our 2 year old, we’ll be in a new state and a new house!

Finding the baskets for the shelf was the final piece (and the hardest to find something to add color and fit nicely so I ended up spending more than I planned). The green one holds the kids’ past school work, the blue is office supplies, and the pink is full of coloring books (where my 2 year old can’t reach them!). 🙂

To save money, the chairs are borrowed from the kitchen table and are the perfect height for the space.

It feels so good getting more organized little by little!

Happy creating and organizing!

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This is the second article by College Parent Central contributor Dr. Lynn Abrahams.  Lynn specializes in college transition and success for students with learning differences.

Over the past ten years more and more programs have been created to help prepare and support college students with learning differences. In fact, there are now so many models out there that it has become crucial to do your homework before making the decision about the best post-secondary environment for your student. As a learning disabilities specialist over the past 30 years, I have seen families pay a tremendous amount of money for programs that may not be the right fit, because they did not fully understand what was or was not being offered.

Here are a few issues to keep in mind:

Support in High School

Look at how much support your student is getting in high school. Shifting the amount and type of support when entering a new college environment is not usually a good idea.

  • Is your student in a substantially separate classroom?
  • Is your student fully mainstreamed in all high school classes?
  • Is your student in college preparatory classes?
  • How much time does your student get for support in a resource room?
  • How much time does your student work with other therapists, such as speech and language, occupational therapy, English language learner support, or counseling?

Support Between High School and College

Decide whether your student needs extra support before going to college. Take an honest look at whether a pre-college program would help academic, social, or emotional readiness.

  • There are summer-before-college programs designed to help students with learning differences prepare for the academic and social shift to college.
  • There are post-grad and transitions programs that may give all types of students an extra year to prepare academically and mature emotionally.
  • There are travelling, volunteering, or working gap year programs, or simply the choice to live at home a work for a year.

Support in College

Study the different models that are out there for support while in college.

  • At one end of the continuum are colleges exclusively for students with learning differences. In this environment, all the professors are learning specialists who understand the many challenges students may face. This may be a good environment for starting college, until confidence and skills are built.
  • At the opposite end of the spectrum are colleges and universities that have an Office for Disabilities and are federally mandated to provide testing accommodations. In this situation, it is very important to ask who will be supporting your student (learning specialists? professors? peer tutors?) and how much time the students are allowed to have with those support people.
  • In the middle of the continuum are mainstream colleges that offer a support program, a vague term that could mean separate classes for a semester, or mainstream class with support from either professionals or peers, or a tiered approach to support that starts with a separate program and weans students off. These programs often have an extra cost, in addition to tuition.

Keep in mind that the right fit for the first year of college may not be the right fit for the third year of college. Your student will mature and change (really, they will!) and the need for support services will change as well. If you and your student look carefully at the different models, chances are higher that you will find the environment that will foster success.

Related articles:

Making the Shift from High School to College When Your Student Has Learning Differences

The Delicate Balance of Support and Self Reliance

Helping Your College Student Find Support on Campus

Why Is My Student in “Developmental” Classes?


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