Archive for January, 2011

Helping with Homework (Part 1)

January 26th, 2011

Homework is a part of every child’s life.  On average, 5th and 6th grade students have 1 to 1.5 hours of homework each night, while 7th and 8th graders have up to 2 hours of homework each night. As a parent, there are things you can do at the beginning of the school year to set your child up for a successful year of high quality, homework completion!

Make sure your child has all the supplies necessary to be successful. Schools provide a list of school supplies before beginning each year. Help your child be prepared by ensuring he/she has all the supplies on this list. Especially for middle school and high school student, getting your child a planner is a great way to help with organization. Finally, be sure to provide a well-lit, quiet place at home where your child can complete homework.

Set up a regular homework time. Even if there are nights when your child does not have homework, establishing and maintaining a regular homework time will help your child stay organized and stay “ahead of the game.” When your child does not have specific assignments due the next day, suggest that he/she work ahead on assignments, or study for upcoming tests.

Make sure your child understands the teacher’s homework expectations. Most middle school and high school teachers give students worksheets that explain homework assignments. Help your child be successful by reading through these instructions together, and if possible, clarifying anything your child does not understand. If the directions are unclear to you as well, encourage your child to talk with the teacher and ask questions. This might be scary for some students, but as a parent, you can help ease these fears by reminding children that teachers want to help students be successful.

Encourage your child to work with “homework buddies.” Talk to your child about finding one student in each of his/her classes who can be a homework buddy. A homework buddy is someone your child can call with questions about assignments, someone who can take notes if he/she is absent, and might even be someone your child can work together with to complete assignments.

Get in touch and stay in touch with teachers. With advances in technology, there is a variety of ways to maintain contact with teachers, including email, phone, and in person visits. Teachers can inform you of your child’s academic progress, his/her behavior in the classroom, and things you can be working on with your child to encourage development. You can let the teacher know of any changes at home or in your child’s life, and also find out ways that you can get involved in your child’s classroom.

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Helping Teens Get Organized

January 10th, 2011

To be successful in the academic world, students need to be organized. For teenagers, this can be a difficult task.  With school, extra curricular activities, friends, and family, organization can seem like a foreign concept to adolescents.  Here are some tips teens can use to stay organized.

Maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each morning will help ensure that you get enough sleep.  This also helps your body get into a routine, enabling you to feel rested and refreshed each day.

Get ready to go the night before. Laying out your clothes, packing your lunch, and packing your book bag the night before will help avoid the feeling of being rushed in the morning. This also gives you time to think through and gather all the things you need for the upcoming day, to ensure these items are not forgotten.

Use a daily planner. A daily planner gives you one space to write everything down. From homework assignments to practice schedules and doctor appointments, having a planner keeps you focused and on track. Planners can also be used to create “to do” lists. Having a list to follow helps to make study halls and designated work times more effective and efficient.

Designate a study area. Each person has a different environment in which he/she studies best. Create an environment for yourself that allows you to get the most out of your study time. Be sure your space is quiet, well lit, and comfortable. However, do not make it too comfortable. A big, comfy couch is often more conducive to sleeping than to studying.

Don’t overload your schedule. Know that there is only so much you can accomplish in one day. There may be times when you need to say no to getting involved in an extra curricular activity, or spending extra time with your friends. Knowing your limits and carefully managing your schedule will allow you to keep up with school work, excel at the activities you do choose to participate in, and maintain a balanced social life.

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