Back To School Tips
Plan & Prepare (especially for the anxious student)
- What does your evening and morning routine look like? Does it work?
- Create a family plan for the morning and afternoon/evening routine. Parental and/or Guardian involvement, deciding together and doing together, creates ownership and accountability for everyone.
- Individualize: what works for one student may not be the best for the other, and that's okay!
- It's okay to change the plan if it isn't working, as long as it's discussed as a family.
- Write it out! Visually checking off a task sends a message of accomplishment and success. (This also helps boost reading and writing skills.)
- Parents, join in! Don't sit and watch TV while your child is doing homework. This is a breeding ground for resentment (especially if your child struggles with learning or school). Read, catch-up on work, make lists, work on projects, etc. This will show your child that homework is something everyone does.
- Don't stop being involved once your child gets to middle school and high school! They need you now just as much as when they were younger, probably more, since there is so much more to juggle -- skills need to be refined as more work is piled on in later school years.
Creating Systems at Home
- Visualization: post a routine the student can check off to see what he or she has done, and so can you! (Whiteboards are available for cheap at almost every home improvement store; chalkboard paint is also a fun and easy way to write out a schedule or plan.)
- Create a relaxed environment. Your student has kept it together all day, and keeping things relaxed at home will create less of a battle when it comes to doing homework.
- Decide when to do schoolwork. Right after school might not be the best time, especially for those that struggle with school. Maybe homework time is after dinner or after they've had a chance to play and unwind.
- Create a designated homework are with the visual checklist and necessary supplies (e.g. pencils, paper, sticky notes, highlighters, books, a timer, music, clipboards, etc.) If your child is more successful doing their homework somewhere other than a table or desk, this is when clipboards come in handy!
- Reading Time: before bed is the best time for reading practice, so it becomes a soothing and relaxing thing to do rather than something students have to do.
- Preparation: have students backpacks and clothes ready the night before, so no one is rushing around in the morning. This will start the day off right and allow for a more relaxed morning. (And hopefully, this relaxation will follow into the day!)
- Remember the "10 Minute Rule"! According to the NEA, 1st graders should start with 10 minutes of homework, 2nd graders with 20 minutes, 3rd graders with 30 minutes, and so on. If it's taking longer than this, then talk to the teacher. Homework should be for practicing skills, not learning new ones!