Stop the Homework Battle

By The Study Hall | Sep 16, 2011

Fall is in the air and most children are finishing their third week of school.  The novelty of the new school year has worn off.  They have decided which teachers and classes they like. They have connected with friends they didn’t see over the summer.  And now the annual battle over homework and grades begins.

There are many ways this battle can start and forms it can take.  It can be a recurring theme from previous years where the student ignores, procrastinates or just plain forgets to do homework until the parent starts questioning the lack of scholarly pursuits.  Or it could start when the number of missing or poor homework grades becomes evident on PowerSchool or through a note/call from a teacher.  Another possibility is that the battle is postponed until the end of the first quarter and the lack of homework results in a mediocre report.

Parents don’t need to despair.  There are some great ways to help your student fulfill their academic potential without resorting to strategic battle plans. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Organization is the key to winning any battle.  For students this includes several important steps.  They need a way to keep track of assignments that works for them. It can be a wall calendar, calendar on their computer/phone or an academic planner.  The most important part is getting into the habit of using it to track homework assignments, tests, project due dates and other activities.              The second part of organization is planning how to keep track of books, handouts, returned homework, syllabus etc.  Again what form this takes is flexible and should depend on the student’s preferences.  What isn’t acceptable is letting papers become lost, crumpled, destroyed or misfiled with another class.  Some students like a binder that they can keep their work in.  Others prefer notebooks and folders.  The form isn’t important but getting into the habit early of putting everything in its place is.

 

  • Scheduling time to do homework is the next step and often the most challenging in our hectic activity filled lives.  Finding a routine within your household to do homework helps the student prioritize their assignments.  Whether it’s after dinner or before breakfast just knowing that there is dedicated time for homework each day will help relieve everyone’s anxiety.

 

  • Environment counts too.  Students often respond well when they realize that you think their homework is just as important as making dinner or doing chores around the house. Too often students go off to their bedrooms, shut the door and turn on the music before starting their homework.  Creating a central quiet location to do homework where you can provide assistance when necessary and help encourage focus as needed is essential.

 

  • Call for reinforcements when needed.  Sometimes students need to get assistance with certain subjects.  Tutors provide a great resource for families.  A tutor can help students understand the skills needed to be successful in whatever subject they are studying.  Tutors can help students identify what they need to work on and then help them plan how to be successful.  Tutors help with study skills, writing, math, science, standardized testing and anything else that might come up in school.  And most importantly students often respond to working with tutors more positively because they are a third party.

 

Parents can help students win the homework battle by utilizing these tips and working with their children to find the balance between school, sports, activities and fun.

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