It’s hard to believe, but most schools have been in session a full month now and students will be receiving mid-term reports soon. If your child seems to be struggling with managing homework, it might be time to help them get organized (or reorganized) for a successful school year.
Minimize Distractions. A huge obstacle to getting homework done is distractions. One of the best things you can do for your family is to set aside a no TV/Electronics time. The time you set should, at a minimum, exceed the normal homework time by about 30 minutes. You also can try a power hour which is 50 minutes of no phone/TV/electronics, then a 10-minute break where the kids can text, chat with friends, and use their electronics. This works especially well for high schoolers who seem to do homework all evening.
Homework Space. A good space to do homework is crucial. Some kids like to work at the kitchen table while others prefer to work on the floor of their bedroom. No matter where they settle down to study, having their supplies nearby will help keep them focused. A plastic caddy is a great tool for keeping school supplies handy. The kids just pull it out when they are doing homework and put it away when they are done.
Write it Down. Kids think they can remember all they need to do for homework yet when they do this, things fall through the cracks. Teaching them how to use an assignment notebook can be a huge help.
Project Management. As kids enter the upper grades they will get assignments that require several steps over a period of time. Show your child how to put the deadline in their assignment notebook and work their way back by adding project milestones to their calendar. This makes a project more manageable and less overwhelming. Plus, it helps them manage their time so they don’t cram the project into one evening which means less stress for the whole family.
Clean Out Routine. Lots of kids use their backpack as a file cabinet instead of a tool to transport items. Encourage a monthly clean out of the backpack, weekly if needed. If they have study material that they need to hang onto but don’t need in their backpack, then set up a small file box with a hanging file for each class in their bedroom. If you set up a file box, just be sure to help your child set guidelines on what goes into the files. It is best if the files only contain active items like project outlines or study material needed for upcoming test.
Get Help. If your child is really struggling with organization, get some outside help. Sometimes hearing organizing tips from a school counselor, tutor, or professional organizer is easier to swallow than hearing it from mom. Teaching them some basic organization skills now will help set them up for success in the future.