Six Ways to Establish Good Homework Habits
When returning to school after summer break, many students are excited to see their friends and return to the routine of school. Although, many students and parents alike dread the idea of homework again. The topic can haunt parents as the stacks of flashcards and worksheets start to come out of backpacks. Many families deal with frustrations and tears from homework time, and the jury is still out on whether or not homework has a positive or negative effect on students. Many families have arguments about homework, and some students struggle tremendously to complete their homework. It can be a constant battle of wills with the child on one side and the parent on the other.
These frustrations and arguments that arise from homework are sometimes the results of poor preparation. Adjusting to homework time can be difficult for many students as they are already mentally spent from working all day in school. Homework, however, is a fact of life for most students, so it is important to establish good homework habits as soon as possible. Establishing good homework habits can make the routine smoother, studying more successful and it can also make everyone more relaxed and happier. Teaching good homework habits at a young age teaches the child self-discipline and good work habits. Having good homework habits can make the student more successful in school which leads to a more successful life. To establish good homework habits, try some of these tips:
- Create a routine
Whether you child begins homework as soon as they get home or they start working on it after dinner, creating a consistent routine tells the child what to expect. Knowing what to expect will prevent arguments and frustration from the child. Some students need time to recuperate after school ends while others do their best work while the information is still fresh in their mind. Experiment with different routines and see what works best. A child that struggles in school may benefit from taking a break from studies and instead play a video game which allows them to win and be a hero. Once their self-confidence and self-esteem are higher, working on homework may be more successful as they feel less defeated. Allow your child to have some input on what time of day they would like to complete their homework.
- Designate a place for homework
Some students work well in their bedrooms while others are successful at the kitchen table. No matter where it is at, designate a place for homework to be done. This place should be well lit and free from distractions such as television or younger siblings that may interfere. If you find your child fidgeting or distracted in an area, try out a new area to see if their concentration improves.
- Provide materials
Get a tub or designate a drawer to homework materials. Having a functioning pencil sharpener, markers, a ruler and other supplies will ensure that they will have the supplies they need to complete the homework. Sharpen several pencils, so they are ready to go should a pencil break and also provide a basic calculator for the student to check their answers. Having the materials already provided will prevent wasted time spent on searching for or preparing materials.
- Observe your child doing homework
Keep track of what your child is doing. Review their homework before they start. Did they learn about this in class today or is it new information? Note any distractions that occur and try to prevent them in the future. Is your child fidgeting or unable to focus? Rearranging the routine to allow for some downtime in between school and homework may help a child focus. Is your child struggling with a subject? Check their answers periodically to be sure they understand what is expected of them.
- Do not do their homework for them
Sometimes it can take serious self-control to not take the paper from them and write in the correct answer. While homework can be frustrating, it is often a necessary evil and is only productive when the child does it. If the parent helps too much or does the homework for them, the student does not learn anything and will likely struggle as a result. Help the student should a problem arise, walk them through math problems and give them hints on answers. However, should your child struggle on each question of a subject on a consistent basis, it may be time to contact the teacher with concerns.
- Stay in contact with the teacher
Usually, your child’s teacher will inform you of the expectations for homework whether it is through a presentation or a flyer sent home. Learn the expectations and ask the teacher any questions you may have. Ask if the homework is supposed to reinforce what is taught at school or prepare the student for what’s coming up next. Does the teacher expect all the answers to be correct or does she want the child to get incorrect answers so she can address the missed problems if there are any? If your child is ill for longer than a day, contact the teacher right away to get a homework packet, so your child doesn’t fall behind.
Establishing a routine, making expectations clear, providing materials, preventing distractions and helping your child through problems are all ways to improve their success in homework. Regardless of your opinion on homework, it is often part of the classroom, and the students must complete it to get a passing grade. Creating a distraction free environment will prevent mistakes and confusion as well as speed up the process. Your child’s success in school largely depends on their ability to complete homework, and the good homework habits begin with you. Show your child how to establish routines, work efficiently and meet expectations with homework as you will not only help them get better grades in school, but you will also teach them self-discipline which will go a long way.