Your child has schedules and expectations each day at school. It is important to have them at home as well. This is especially important for helping to get homework done with the fewest possible frustrations for both you and your child. While establishing a routine may be time consuming in the beginning, it does become routine, and thus easier with each passing day. Homework expectations will become just one more part of their and your busy lives.
Lindamood-Bell recommends the following 5 simple, effective, homework strategies to help your child stay on track:
1. Plan study time with a schedule. Just as your child has a schedule at school, it is important to have a schedule to follow outside of school. This includes after school, before school, and on weekends. Scheduling time to study each day will help your child keep track of the many things he needs to do as well as help him to learn the best times of the day to study.
- Look ahead to see what needs to be accomplished in the next day, week, and month.
- Be realistic when estimating the time it will take to complete an assignment or project.
2. Prioritize with a to-do list. This helps to visualize what is most important: item number one should be the most important thing to do, number two, next most important, etc. It also helps him to plan his time most efficiently. There is always a sense of accomplishment when items are marked as “done!”
- Write out a to-do list each day.
- The list should include homework assignments, activities, chores, and plans with friends.
- The list should be posted in your house where it can be easily and frequently viewed.
3. Organize each day. Organizing your child in school will help her keep track of assignments, meetings, and activities. It will help to create a sense of calm and accomplishment.
- Make sure backpacks are packed with the appropriate books, binders and school supplies.
- Help your child pack the backpack the night before and unpack it as soon as they come home from school.
- Use one binder for each subject.
- Each subject binder should have two labeled sections: one for work to be finished and one for completed work.
4. Set up a positive workspace to facilitate good study habits. You want your child to be comfortable with minimal or no distractions when he is doing his homework.
- Make sure the space has good lighting, a clutter-free table top, and a comfortable chair. Have all the essential supplies readily available, including pencils, pens, a highlighter, calculator, paper, a computer, and a trash can.
- There should be little or no noise. Avoid distractions such as loud music, instant messaging, phone calls, text messages, television, and electronic games.
5. Encourage your child to talk with his teacher. It is important that a student communicates with her teachers whenever she is having trouble or is confused with her schoolwork. It can be difficult for teachers to tell if a student is struggling unless she speaks up.
- Encourage your child to ask questions when she doesn’t understand something or needs help with classwork or homework.
- Rehearse with your child what exactly to say when she is talking to her teacher. Practice like this gives her more confidence when she is face to face with her teacher.
To help with this task, here are three basic steps to help facilitate good communication:
- Pinpoint the problem.
- Think of an action that would help.
- Have your child talk with her teacher about these issues. Your child can offer her solutions and ask for help.
Problem- “I am having a hard time reading this book for the book report. I just think the book is too long, and so I haven’t even started reading it.”
How to ask the teacher- “ I am having trouble reading this book. Could you go through it with me and help me break it into sections to read each night so that I can finish it in time?”
The goal in implementing these 5 simple homework strategies is for your child to become a self-starter and independent. They can all translate into improved self-confidence, which can lead to success. Why not start now?