Being organized is important for succeeding in school. Here’s how to approach homework for success — and fewer headaches.
It’s officially back-to-school season for Middle Tennesseans, which means the additional time-management juggling act of doing homework. Between soccer games and practices, Girl Scouts and piano lessons, schedules are busy.
How do we stay on top of homework assignments and why should I care beyond the obvious quest for a good report card? There is a direct relationship between how organized a child is and how well they do in school. Helping your child develop good study habits when they are young will translate into life-long learning success, all the way through elementary school to college.
Here are five tips for making homework as hassle- and headache-free as possible (for kids and parents alike!)
Tip No. 1: Designate a homework area.
Where does your child work on homework assignments? Is it in front of the television? Is he scrambling to do homework on his lap in the car on the way to sports practice? Designate a quiet, undisturbed location at home for studying, such as the kitchen table or breakfast bar, where your child has plenty of space to spread out papers and supplies. I know many kids have desks in their bedrooms, but for elementary- and middle-school students, I’d suggest having a spot that allows a parent to quietly monitor progress.
Tip No. 2: Set ground rules.
My girls can’t watch TV while working on their homework, no matter how much they insist they can do both. TV for background noise only is also a no, although I’m fine with light background music so long as it’s something low-key like jazz or classical. Once your kids know the rules, you won’t have to be a homework nag! And trust me, nagging will get you nowhere with kids.
Tip No. 3: Set a homework schedule
As a general rule, my girls relax for about 30 to 45 minutes after school with a snack and one TV show or outdoor chill-out time. Then it’s time for homework before supper. On days we have activities immediately after school (such as piano practice), my kids simply work on their homework after dinner. My kids typically don’t have homework over the weekend, but if they do I make sure they don’t wait until Sunday to tackle it.
Tip No. 4: Break down large projects into manageable mini tasks.
My 11-year-old has more and more special project assignments. We break down each project into manageable deadlines and deliverables with a little break between each deadline and goal.
Tip No. 5: Instill the value of organization and time management.
Help children realize that the more focused they are on homework assignments, the more efficient, and accurate, they’ll be at schoolwork. Discourage procrastination and encourage setting mini goals. Periodically work with them on going through school papers and filing or purging paperwork or notes they no longer need in their main binder or folders.
Lastly, although not an “official” tip, have fun shopping for supplies with your kids and let them pick out some fun and creative supplies. Arm them with tools they need to stay organized and make completing homework as fun as possible!
Jamie Reeves is a Nashville writer. She and her husband Alan have two daughters, three dogs and too much laundry. This busy soccer mom can typically be found cheering from the sidelines or in her car on the way to school, gymnastics or Girl Scouts meetings. Jamie writes Blonde Mom Blog.
What tips would you add to this list? Leave you ideas in the comments below.