By Dr. Raymond J. Huntington
Is homework time a challenge at your household? Do you have a child who detests homework or procrastinates on getting work done, night after night? Does your student claim not to have homework when he or she actually does?
How can you tackle various homework issues and ease homework stress? Here are several homework tips:
Tip #1: Develop a homework keeper system. Provide your child with a homework notebook or simple spreadsheet and have him or her record homework assigned while sitting in each class. Don’t forget to have him or her write down every subject -- and even if a subject has no homework one day, he or she should record that, too. This homework tracking system should serve as your child’s nightly guide and your check to ensure all assigned work gets finished.
Tip #2: Create a homework schedule and stick to it. Develop an after-school schedule that prioritizes homework time and schedules all other activities (such as social time and extracurricular activities) around that. Studies show that routines are good for children of all ages because they promote good time management skills and reduce stress (among many other benefits), so whatever you decide on for homework time, make that a part of your daily routine.
Tip #3: Encourage the use of a calendar/planner. As children become more involved in things outside of school, one of the greatest homework challenges is having sufficient time to get it done. The earlier you teach your child to manage his or her time effectively, the better. Keep a master family calendar on which all commitments, activities and daily to-dos are recorded. Make sure your child keeps an up-to-date planner for his own tasks and activities, too.
While there are no sure-fire study strategies that will guarantee that your child gets straight A’s from now until high school graduation, there are a few things to keep in mind during homework sessions. Here are a few pointers on making the most of homework time:
- Short, frequent study sessions are good. Don’t worry if your child has a busy schedule and cannot find time to study for two hours uninterrupted. Research shows that studying often for shorter periods of time is actually more effective than long study sessions.
- Having a game plan helps. Your child can make every study minute count if he or she has a plan to keep him or her on track. Set achievable tasks and milestones for every study session.
- Learning styles matter. Knowing your child’s learning preferences can help you guide him or her when studying. A primarily visual learner, for example, may not respond well to being read to. A mostly kinesthetic learner may find it difficult to sit at a desk for too long.
- Breaking things down helps students stay productive. It’s easy for children to get overwhelmed by too many tasks at once. Help your child create a list of to-dos to keep him or her moving forward. Breaking down bigger assignments or projects into small steps is especially helpful, too.
- It is your child’s homework -- not yours. It’s always good practice to help your child understand the object of assignments, but remember that homework is your child’s responsibility. Give him or her ownership of homework. Resist the urge to jump in and help too quickly
Remember: the key to making homework time a success is to make it a priority. Let your child know how important homework is in helping to reinforce what he or she learns in the classroom. If homework time continues to be a stressful nightly battle, call Huntington. We can help your child overcome the issues at the root of his or her homework struggles.
Dr. Raymond J. Huntington and Eileen Huntington are co-founders of Huntington Learning Center, which has been helping children succeed in school for more than 30 years. For more information about Huntington Learning Center, visit www.huntingtonhelps.com or in Canton, MI, please call (734) 207-7930.