Establishing a Homework Schedule and a Homework Place
Updated: Mar 12, 2019
Over the years I have encouraged my clients to start with something easy when beginning to work on any task. The suggestion for something easy is to increase confidence and enthusiasm. However, when homework is the task I typically suggest starting with a medium to hard subject first. It is typically better to start homework on a subject that requires more mental capacity when you are at a higher energy level. I suggest starting harder homework immediately after school. (Have a snack first!). The best order for homework is: Hardest subject, easier subject, hard subject, easiest subject.
School is much longer than an 8 hour work day. For students the school day can last well into the evening and on into the weekend. After a long day at school a student’s energy level starts to diminish and so does their level of focus. The demands of homework and study after a full day of school can create a stressful situation for a child. Children need help to set priorities for approaching homework and special projects so they do not loss focus and become overwhelmed. Parents, homework helpers, older siblings and after-school homework programs can help students to establish a routine for starting and completing scheduled homework and projects. Planning a schedule, identifying order of priorities and a place to work on homework assignments and projects are can significantly impact a student’s overall educational experience.
Homework should be included in a student’s overall daily schedule of responsibilities. However, homework should be of the highest priority over all other activities. Planning a schedule for homework requires identifying the complexity of the assignment and when each assignment is due. I suggest that parents and students share a paper calendar or electronic planner with a date and time for homework and projects. I strongly suggest that electronic planners be used because they have working alerts/alarms which can help to keep the student on task and as a reminder for the parent or other responsible party to monitor the completion of homework. Homework should be monitored at least until there is a routine in place that the student consistently follows. I would suggest that at least for the first semester in which the plan is installed that daily monitoring take place. Monitoring can be reduced to weekly or bi-weekly checks in subsequent semesters. Establishing a routine also requires a place for homework and study to take place. The same place at the scheduled time helps to establish a routine. (Doing homework for students is like going to the gym for adults. If we establish a time and place we are more likely to have success in our goal; the same is true for students and academic studies.) So discuss a location where study will take place and then establish an agreement with your student. Periodic rewards help to enforce the behavior required to establish a routine. Talk to your student about expectations and periodic rewards.
These skills are invaluable as they are skills that can be applied to every aspect of a student’s educational and social life. Success is in planning and sticking to the plan!