Creating a Homework Plan

homework“A goal without a plan is just a wish.” ― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

We have a goal. We decided that this year is going to be different. No more worries and tantrums, handwringing and all-nighters around homework. Although I believe in the power of positive thinking, I also agree with Antoine de Saint-Exupery that a goal without a plan is a wish.  So how do we convert that wish into reality? We need a plan.

Planning is essential for homework management. The two key components of a homework plan are “when” and “where”. Once you have nailed these down, both you and your student are on your way to homework sanity.

The When

Ideally, homework should be done when the mind is relatively fresh and when your student has time available on a regular basis. When something is “on the schedule” it tends to get done. Homework needs to be scheduled and every effort should be made to adhere to that schedule.

Does your child tend to do his or her best thinking right after school or perhaps during school hours?  Does he or she fade as the daylight decreases? Or is your student more likely to need to participate in some physical activity or have a break after school and then feel refreshed and ready to work after dinner? Are there enough available hours in study hall, after school locations or after dinner that meet your student’s patterns?

Once you figure out the best time blocks, put them on the schedule. There are many options. You can use a  colorful wall calendar or whiteboard at home for younger children and cell phone or other electronic calendars for older children. If your child is into mobile apps, there is an app called myHomework that allows kids to enter their assignments and due dates as well as their classes and schedules. If you want to receive reminders of the assignments, there is an annual charge of $1.99.   

Older children will want to manage their assignments themselves and it is good to encourage this behavior. However, if your child has had difficulty in the past keeping track of assignments and due dates and is unlikely to keep up with an online assignment program, you may want to establish check-in times to make sure that the assignments are being tracked. Also consider a reward system. This could be as simple as making a favorite dinner or treat or some families contribute to a special fund for a treasured item such as a new cell phone. Money is put in each week an assignment is completed on schedule.  

The Where

As is the case with time, having a regularly scheduled place where homework is completed is an important basic which can easily be captured on the schedule. Mondays 10 to 11 and 2-3, study hall; Tuesdays 3 to 5 at kitchen table and so on.  

Homework is a scheduled activity just like soccer and doctor’s appointments. Everyone needs to know when and where these activities will take place. 

What’s your plan for getting homework done this year? We want to know!  Just tell us in the comments section.


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