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“Back to School” season gives me anxiety. Even though I don’t HAVE to go back to school ever again (although every time I cry about my career, my parents suggest grad school!) – I still get that feeling of dread in my stomach. I usually faced my fears by doing something crazy like perming my hair, spray tanning only my legs, or getting an eyebrow wax (that ripped the skin off along with the hair.) But luckily, my bestie/best mom Barbara King LOVES back to school season, and is establishing a much healthier (and Pinterest-worthy) approach to her daughter starting kindergarten with THE CUTEST study nook! From Barbara:

Confession time. I LOVE back to school season. I guess it’s not really a confession if you know me because this time of year has been like Christmas to me for a long, long time. I will spend HOURS roaming the aisles of Target, happily surrounded by shelves of brightly colored erasers and glue sticks and 3-ring binders. Part of it is the teacher in me, but the other part is just the total nerd. As a kid, I loved packing up my backpack with my Trapper Keeper and pencil case for the first day of a new school year, and I guess that excitement hasn’t rubbed off yet.

So it goes without saying that I was beyond excited for all the back-to-school shopping I could do with my daughter, who is starting Kindergarten this year. But when I attended the Kinder Round-up at her future school, I was surprised to hear that they don’t really need any stuff besides a backpack and lunchbox, (which, DUH, we had already purchased FOUR months ago.) The school provides everything – even an iPad for each kid!

I almost cried. Luckily, before embarrassing myself, one of the teachers mentioned that the kids will need a quiet space to do their homework. A quiet space to study isn’t something normally sold in the back-to-school section of any store but it was definitely a project I was ready to take on. Plus – I would save money!

Over the past few weeks I have gathered ideas and items – both from around the house, or at really inexpensive stores like Michael’s. Everything all together cost less than $30.

So now, I now present to you: The Study Nook.

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Part of the fun was choosing where to put the study nook. I tried a few different places in our common areas before I finally I settled on a corner of our living room. To really make it feel like her own mini-room, I used a potted plant to separate the space.

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On the wall I hung: a pink chalkboard; a framed piece of her own artwork; a calendar; a tin “M”; two pencil holders; a divided folder organizer affixed to the wall with Velcro tape; and a few photographs from her French preschool attached to the wall with cute Washi tape. Everything was either an item I already owned, or something that I bought either on sale or really cheap.

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On the small Ikea desk I have a small white ceramic container filled with crayons, along with two small notebooks and framed soccer photo.

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I know the whole study nook thing is not necessary for kindergarten, but it’s not really about the study space itself. It’s about getting kids excited for school! (And letting me shop my back-to-school heart out.) I think that by making homework and studying seem fun and exciting I can establish good study habits early on. And so far, the kids love working in the space!

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Let me know if you have a special “study nook” in your home and if you do – what kind of supplies do you keep there? Anything I’m missing?

Barbara King-Wilson is an actress and writer living with her family in Los Angeles. Follow her @TheBarbaraKing and visit her at www.barbaraking.com!

More from Barbara:

5 Reasons Why Every L.A. Kid Needs To Go Camping

Open Letter Apology To Televisions Everywhere

Books That Kept Me Sane While Pregnant

Why Can’t L.A. Moms Let Their Kids Be Bored?

The Secret To What Men Actually Want For Father’s Day

How To Raise The Future Female President of America

Dear Cool Mom At The Park…

So, Preschool Graduations Are A Thing Now

How I Didn’t (But Really Did) Find The Perfect School

10 Things That Cost The Same As Private School In L.A.

Three Schools You Can Only Find In L.A.

26 Questions To Ask On A School Tour

How I (Almost) Lost My Mind Applying to My Kid’s Elementary Schools

10 Questions L.A. Kids Have Asked Me

3 Signs You’re Ready To Be A Mom

Mommy Choices

2016 Resolutions Reality Check

My Minor Obsession with the PERFECT Holiday Photo


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