Managing homework and extra-curricular activities become more daunting as our children get older. The 15 minutes of homework turns into 30, then turns into 45, and then into 60+ minutes a night. The once-a-week, two-hour long travel soccer practice turns into three nights a week, plus whole weekend team tournaments. Some children may be a member of more than one team. And, on top of that, many children often need to squeeze in other activities along with athletic commitments.
So how does homework fit into this equation? For many, not very easily. I often hear, “I couldn’t do my homework last night because I didn’t get home until 9:30.” This is one habit you don’t want your child to get into. Not only does this mean homework doesn’t get done consistently, the child often feels guilty, doesn’t perform well in school, and loses self-esteem with his/her academics. One of the tools I introduce to my students at the beginning of each school year, and have used with my own children, is a weekly planner. It certainly doesn’t solve time issues, but it gives the student an overview of the week in an organized manner. It also helps each student to be accountable for his/her own homework planning.
This simple color-coded guide makes the weekly schedule plain and clear. When the children see their weekly schedule in such a format, they are often alarmed at how busy they are after school. It puts things into perspective and helps students and parents understand whether homework may or may not be a challenge for the upcoming week. Here's what you can do to manage homework:
- On Sunday, fill out a weekly planner and post one on the fridge and in your assignment book and homework “center.”
- Using the planner - map out long-term assignments work times, study times.
- Another tool to promote personal accountability is to create a monthly calendar to place long-term assignments, test dates, and other assignments. It’s simple to make.
The use of post-it notes, paint swatch cards, or paper, cut into squares, are fun to use to create the calendar blocks. The completed calendar can be laminated and placed on the refrigerator or homework space. Mapping out tests and projects by putting the information onto the calendar helps to keep important assignments in plain view.
Keeping up with the demands of our children’s busy daily lives can be made simpler by using the weekly planning guide and calendar.