Whether your child is six or sixteen, homework is undoubtedly a part of their everyday life. Naturally, practice is a key component in learning, and homework provides an opportunity for students to apply the lessons they learn in class on their own, and flesh out their understanding at a pace that’s comfortable for them. For students at any age, it’s important to have a healthy homework strategy, making sure to absorb lessons as best they can and prepare relevant questions for when they’re back in class.
As every parent knows, getting your child to adhere to a homework schedule can be met with eye rolls and discontented sighing. While it might seem obvious to you that you have your child’s best interest at heart when you tell them “do your homework” for the ten thousandth time in a row, your child could feel quite the opposite, especially if they haven’t learned the strategies necessary to make homework less daunting. The good news is that it’s never too early or too late to help students develop efficient studying strategies that will lead to success in school. Here are five tips for getting your growing scholar on the right track to homework success.
1. Establish a set “working” space.
Having a defined homework area helps students focus on the task at hand—working in a quiet, comfortable space minimizes potential distractions from unfamiliar sights or sounds. Whether it’s a bedroom desk or a chair at the kitchen table, make sure to keep a consistent study area where your child knows it’s time to get to work. Enrolling your child in Sylvan’s Homework Help is another great way to set aside time and space for homework, and make it fun, too.
2. Break big projects into small pieces.
Projects like science experiments or research papers can sometimes be overwhelming if students try to complete them in one go. Showing your child the benefits of scheduling his or her time effectively and breaking out responsibilities over several days or weeks will not only make these projects more manageable, but it will also likely lead to higher grades—as there will be more time to review the work and make important adjustments.
3. Harness the power of technology—without the distraction.
Research shows that multitasking is rarely as efficient as people think. Needless to say, you should insist that all distracting electronics be put aside while homework is in progress (yes, even the phone!). But when it comes to conducting in-depth research or looking up quick tips (e.g., on education sites), the internet can be a very positive asset. To make sure your child is staying on task, reinforce productive internet use by helping them sift through what they find.
4. Start with something easy to reinforce a positive attitude.
Each day, encourage your child to start with an assignment that seems easy. Maybe it will be the reading from your daughter’s favorite class, or a couple of math problems that your son knows he can finish quickly. Whatever it is, the feeling of accomplishment and confidence that results from getting one thing out of the way helps the homework session begin on a positive note – so you can then move on to tackling more difficult concepts in a stronger frame of mind.
5. Know when to step back
With so much pressure to achieve exceptional academic results, it’s easy to lose sight of the long-term effects of too much stress and pressure related to work. One of the most important things you can do for your child is give them the space they need to grow, and to give them a break when they need it so that their minds are open to learning (without too much focus on getting a good grade). By keeping “homework time” a safe space, you’re giving your child the most important tools they need for success — support and care.