Preparing productive study habits at home is just as important as getting your kids ready for life in the classroom. Creating ground rules and an environment at home where students of all ages can focus on homework is a great way to support them throughout the school year. These strategies can help cultivate lifelong study habits and skills that they can use as they move on to higher education.
Here are six important factors to keep in mind in making sure your home is a comfortable, supportive homework space for your children:
Most kids need an area with few distractions. Some kids can focus with music or sound in the background, while others need almost complete quiet. Find out what works best for your child. Do they need a secluded area? Or maybe they do better at the dining room table with other family members near by.
Be sure they have a comfortable spot including, desk/table, comfortable chair, proper lighting, and plenty of room. Help them gather everything they need before getting started to avoid wasted time looking for pencils, calculators, etc. If they are using a computer or laptop, be sure they are comfortable with correct posture and are not straining their shoulders or neck.
2. Time of Day
Discuss with your child their homework workload and best time of day to tackle it. Do this by creating a consistent plan together. You may have to make adjustments once the school year gets started; thinking that before dinner is a great time to study, but finding out hunger and the smell of dinner cooking is way too distracting. Even though a routine is important, flexibility is key. If kids have varying schedules because of sports or other after school activities, create a calendar that includes all activities and find openings in the schedule for their homework time.
3. Taking Breaks
At least once an hour a short break can be beneficial, not to mention something to look forward to especially when working on a tough assignment. Encourage your kids to stand up, stretch, walk around, drink water and have a healthy snack. Taking 5 or 10 minutes can improve productivity, as well as physical and mental alertness.
There are a variety of homework apps for planning and organizing, and some that can be used for study aids. Apps can be helpful for specific subjects such as math formulas and calculations, creating custom electronic flash cards, assignment organization, grade tracking, and more. Search online for the apps that fit your child’s needs.
5. Outside Resources
Older students studying upper-level classes such as a foreign language, math, and science, can reach beyond your level of expertise. Don’t worry – there are resources available to help. Search online for resources on the particular subject, to help understanding of the materials. Another valuable resource is a tutor. Check with your school for recommendations on tutors, and inquire whether they offer a student mentor program.
6. Your Responsibility
Helping your child with their homework is not the same as doing it for them. Working together to help them understand and learn is supportive, doing their homework for them will set them up for failure. Learning how to successfully work through difficult projects and assignments and how to use available resources creates confidence and skills that will benefit them throughout their lives.