One on One with Shayne Fee


Learning Systems Tutoring, on Home Study Rooms


Shayne Fee

Ah, farewell summer. Fall has rounded its seasonal corner and is up close and personal. Shorter days and longer nights abruptly shift the blue sky into a backdrop of ebony, with mornings crisp and dewy.

Even though I see green lawns, green trees and pretty colored flowers in this land of OC, the tilt of the earth brings the feel of autumn leaves bustling about, birds flapping their way overhead, and the reappearance of yellow school buses. There they are, trundling down the road, full of kids laughing, talking, heading towards their place of learning, socializing, and Kodak moments. School is in.

And so is homework. The byproduct of school, homework seeps its way into the lives of families and provides parents with plenty of practice in repetitive remarks. Did you finish your homework? Get off the phone now. Stop texting and read your book.

Shayne Fee, founder of Learning Systems Tutoring knows all about homework and how to get kids to learn more effectively. I was interested in learning about designating a room specifically for study and the importance this plays in creating the right atmosphere for doing homework.

Shayne cheerfully answered my questions. A man with an upbeat attitude and devotion to education, he taught me that making a room into a place for home study certainly requires little effort but provides big benefits for the kids.


Q:  Why designate a room specifically for study?

A:  A designated study room will undoubtedly help your child focus and concentrate on the task at hand. Focus is definitely the single most important factor for a successful study session. If a child is doing homework in a room that has other distractions, it makes learning more challenging. You can convert an extra bedroom or double up a home-office for a study room if an extra room is unavailable. What is important is the specified space is the destination for the learning every time.


Q:  What is needed to set up a room that is conducive to learning?

A:  You want it to be a useable, interesting workspace. An uncluttered solid desk or table is a perfect place to start. I recommend office-style chairs because they are comfortable enough but won’t stimulate sleep. Shelving for books, a computer and inspiring décor are all pluses as well. Also have a place for storage such as boxes or magazine holders to avoid clutter and clear up the desk. You might consider a couple of file cabinets to keep homework papers organized.


A: If a child expresses interest in making this area her own, absolutely! This gives the child a sense of responsibility in caring for the space and encourages organization. For example, having personalized stationary, scissors, paper, pens, colored pencils helps generate interest and involvement in the room. But be sure that the personalization doesn’t create a room full of distracting things for the child to look at or play with instead of doing his homework. Q: What equipment is helpful for the student?A: A computer is obviously very helpful, but placement in the room is extremely important. A desk with computer, keyboard, printer, monitor sitting on top and no space for books and writing creates a problem. It would be best to have a separate desk for the computer if this is the case. If you don’t have space for both a computer area and a separate table/desk for homework, then a laptop is highly recommended. Q: What type of lighting is best?A: Natural sunlight from a big window is best. It keeps the child focused and engaged in her tasks. Fluorescent or any other artificial lighting should be changed to natural full-spectrum lighting to simulate daylight. This provides a clear and bright area for better reading and writing and improves productivity. A dim study won’t promote active, engaged learning and it creates strain on the eyes. And don’t forget about fresh air. Open a window and let in a refreshing breeze to increase brain power. Research shows that fresh air produces a sense of well being and a positive and buoyant mood. This creates an uplifting ambiance for optimum learning. Q: Colors play up or down a room. What color do you recommend?A: Definitely use calming colors to surround the study. Doing homework or studying can be very stressful at times so creating a tranquil environment is a must. Select a paint color that not only relaxes but helps the child focus. A soft green such as sage or a cool blue would be my top picks. Also creams and maybe pale yellow or lavender paint to give a cheerful feel.

Q:  What is the optimum time to study?

A:  Definitely choose the afternoons for studying. Maybe take a short break for an afternoon snack and a stretch to stimulate circulation, then right back to the books! Studying and doing homework in a room filled with natural sunlight is almost always going to be more productive than a night time session. Once daylight has gone and night well on its way, the body signals the brain to gear down and enter sleep mode by releasing melatonin, a sleep hormone. This gives the body a tendency to be less alert and sleep more inviting and homework less enticing.


Q:  What is the best way to manage distractions?

A:  This is one of the best reasons for providing a room or specific space for the child to study. It allows a quiet space for thinking and learning. I always advise to designate a time for study that is consistent every day. When your child studies in a tranquil personalized room at the same time everyday, this gives the mind and body a chance to develop an internal clock that signals learning time. Before too long it becomes an excellent habit. And best of all providing a tutor keeps the child engaged, enthusiastic and on course during the study time.

Shayne Fee can be contacted at 714-454-4043 or