Now that summer is officially over and students are back-to-school, homework begins to move into high gear. The start of the school year is probably the most important time, since establishing a routine for completing homework now will guide your child year-round.
Of course, we understand that homework may not be your child’s favorite thing to do, so here are some tips to help the family get back in the swing of homework this school year:
- Keep a positive attitude. Regard homework not as a tiresome activity, but rather as practice of what the students learned that day.
- Stay organized. The most basic but useful tool for the school year is a planner. Writing down assignments and due dates will keep your child organized when it’s time to start his or her homework. You can organize assignments by due dates or subjects. You can also use the planner to break down big assignments into more manageable parts over a series of due dates. If your child needs a little encouragement to do so, in our blog “5 Tips for Helping with Homework,” we suggest asking if the teacher would be willing to check and initial the planner every time homework is given. As a backup plan, if your child’s teacher has a page on the school website, check to see if assignments are posted.
- Set up groups. Study groups have been used for many years, but are still one of the best tools to assist studying. Allow your child to gather with their friends, at anyone’s house, with an adult present. Giving them the freedom and flexibility to be with their friends leads to a comfortable and engaging learning environment. For tips on holding effective study groups, visit “Using Study Groups” on the Education Corner website.
- Create homework sessions. For parents in multi-children households, it can seem impossible getting all your children to sit down and start their homework. In fact, sometimes just getting one child to do it is a challenge. You can start by turning off all electronics for an hour a day and encouraging a one-hour homework session. Gather everyone in one room where they can complete assignments and are able to ask you any questions they may have. Creating a designated, distraction-free homework space like this is highly effective, and if you do it at a regularly scheduled time each day, it will develop into a routine, leaving little room for procrastination.
- Take breaks. Always remember that children (even adults) get worn out and drained from hours of work. We all know the feeling. In order to keep the mind refreshed, taking five-minute breaks after every half hour makes a difference in the quality of work and attitude. Having plenty of water and healthy snacks to fuel young minds also improves their thinking skills, leading to better results.
- Use resources. If your child is having problems understanding homework material that you may not know how to tackle yourself, there are places to turn for help. YouTube tutorials, apps, and other websites for different subjects are all available for your child’s benefit. Don’t forget that our blogs, too, are full of practical and useful information on everything from accessing apps for homework help to improving writing skills to practicing math in real-life situations. Your child’s teachers are also always willing to help. All of these resources are great; don’t hesitate to use them.