When school is back in session, children and parents will again be faced with homework assignments. Make the best of study time with a little thought and planning, says a University of Missouri Extension human development specialist.
“Children need structure and routine,” said Lisa Wallace. “At home and at school, children do their best when they know what’s expected of them. Help them schedule their homework time.”
Here are some tips to help children make the most of their study time:
1. Set aside a specific time to study. The biggest challenge might be sitting down and getting started.
2. Set aside a place. Kids study better if they have a certain place where they can work. It doesn’t have to be exclusively set aside for studying—it can be the kitchen table—but it should be the same place every night.
3. Provide adequate supplies and keep them where they are easily found. Nothing wastes time like a search for a pencil or paper. Ask them to write down what they need to do before they begin. This will help them focus. It will also give them a sense of accomplishment when they cross something off a list.
4. Eliminate distractions. Some homes are just naturally loud. To the extent that you can, create a quiet space.
5. Help them find their own working style. Some people like to tackle one project at a time. Others like to go back and forth between projects.
6. Be available. For some children, you may need to sit near them reading your own book to encourage them to continue. Be attentive to their progress and available to help with questions.
7. Remember that being organized isn’t the same as being neat. Some people work best on a clean surface. Other people need a lot of notes and books in front of them.
“The goal for study time is learning and getting homework assignments completed,” Wallace said. “However, the lessons from homework are twofold. One goal is to gain knowledge and the other is to gain the skills to take an assignment and follow through to completion. Both are important life lessons.”