Chances are homework will not be your child's favorite activity. At the end of the day, the last thing you want is to argue with your child about doing homework. Rather than prod and argue, here are some suggestions to help you structure homework.
Schedule Homework Time
Set a homework time and stick to it. Empty agenda book? Check out your teacher/class websites or Google classrooms. To access each Google classroom, you will need your child's username and password. For big projects map it out! Set a timeline with your child to help him breakdown big projects into small, more manageable tasks with dates for completion. Some students do well with lists others with a visual calendar.
Homework as a Priority
Participation in activities is an important part of your child's social and emotional growth. However, attempting to squeeze homework into a long list of after school activities can exasperate his homework anxieties. Limit the amount of activities your child gets involved in so that he can manage his schedule. If together you are having a difficult time deciding which activities are most important, have him rate each activity on a scale of 1-5 (5 being a must have and 1 being could live without). You may be pleasantly surprised at how much you agree.
Get Help With It
Social phone calls should be discouraged during homework time. As a matter of fact, if possible put unneeded devices away! Have your child turn devices off completely or hand them over to you. However, a quick call to a friend or classmate to discuss an assignment could be useful, especially if your child is confused by the material. If you child seems to need excessive help, talk with his teacher about getting extra help. Also, have your child see his counselor for assistance in getting a Peer Tutor. We have 8th grade students and Peer Leaders who are available during Enrichment to assist tudents grades 6-8 in various subjects including organization skills!
Create Conditions Conducive to Learning
To help the process go smoothly, you can create a work environment that is both fun and functional.
Pick a Place
Designate a spot in your home - a desk, kitchen or dining room table or any place with a good writing surface and good lighting. Make sure your child can spread out and work. Minimize noise or distractions as much as possible. If a private place is not possible, consider creating a cubicle from a cardboard box to stand up on the work surface. Working on a desk or table versus on the floor or bed improves posture and keeps your child alert. If you child likes to sit on the floor, consider a lapdesk. If a quiet space is hard to find, the community library is a great place for peace and quiet!
Create a Portable Tool Box
Each time your child has to get up and find an eraser or pen, he is subject to distractions. Keep your child focused by creating a box of supplies that can be transported to his workplace. "Tools" to consider:
- Pencil Sharpener
- Paper clips
- Hole puncher
- Stapler, staples & stapler remover
- Post it notepads
Join Your Child in Doing Homework
If your child is doing math, take this time to pay your bills. If your child is reading, read a magazine, book or newspaper! This shows your child that the skills he needs are related to adult tasks.
A two pocket homework folder where your child can keep his homework assignments would be helpful. On the inside of the folder, label one side "Homework to do" and the other side "Homework Done." This folder should travel with your child to each of his classes with his agenda. Be sure to help your child make use of the school agenda. Help him learn how to plot out long term assignments in order to do a little bit each day to prevent him from becoming overwhelmed the day before a long-term assignment is due.
Some students may choose to use their Google calendar to help them keep track of due dates. The Google calendar is easilty accessable on student chromebooks and can be accessed on any portable device with internet connection. Furthermore, students can get assistance from one of our wonderful technolgoy coaches (Mrs. Garrison or Mrs. Pohan) to learn how to sync their Google calendar with their smartphones.
Students are also encouraged to join our weekly organizational/study skills group with their counselors. We have set up groups for each grade level. Organization groups meet during Enrichment.
Set Appropriate Goals
It can be too overwhelming to have your child focus on getting an 'A'. Help your child understand that learning is a process and can be full of failure! The important thing is to learn and grow from failure. As long as your chilid is progressing, he is headed in the right direction. Instead of having him focus on getting a specific grade, have him focus on thriving.
Designate a Showcase
Designate a place where your child can hang up the work he is proud of. This can be a bulletin board in his room or the refrigerator. This will give him incentive to keep doing his best.
Curious about how things are going in school? Check out the parent portal for grades and assigments. You can also talk to or email your child's teacher for a status update. If your child is showing consistent difficulty with certain subjects at home, let the teacher know.
Compliment Your Child's Efforts
Praise, Praise, Praise!! Even the smallests of efforts from your child deserve recognition. Over time those positively reinforced efforts become good habits!
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