High school students spend an average of 4-5 hours per week on homework. Students in higher-level classes often deal with greater homework loads. Even in elementary and middle school, students may find themselves dealing with nightly homework, projects, and other assignments that have to be completed outside school hours. High amounts of homework, especially if the student does not understand the concept being presented, can cause considerable stress. Fortunately, as a parent, there are several things you can do to ease homework stress and support your child.
1. Prioritize and Plan
Sit down with your child and discuss priorities. Explain why educational responsibilities, including homework, are important for your family. Also, create a strategy that prioritizes homework and allows your child adequate time to get it done. Next, create a plan. Take a look at daily homework needs as well as long-term assignments and requirements, and make sure your child has the time and materials necessary to get it done. If that means shifting other priorities when your child has more homework than usual, is struggling with a concept, or has a project due, you may need to make changes to your child’s regular schedule.
2. Create a Suitable Study Environment
If there are constant distractions in and around the area where your child is trying to study, it can prove very difficult to handle those tasks and get the job done. Create a study environment where your child can focus on the task at hand. Include:
- Comfortable seating
- Easy access to the materials your student needs to accomplish homework tasks
- A way to shut out distractions
Try not to turn on the television or create other obvious distractions while your student is working, since those things can interfere with focus and make it difficult for your student to get homework done.
3. Take Regular Breaks
A child’s attention span may be shorter than you think. Even high school students may be able to maintain attention for only around an hour at a time before they need to shift focus to something else. Regular breaks can help refocus the mind and allow your child to relax for a little while before diving back in with another task. Also, include those breaks as part of your child’s homework schedule and routine.
4. Practice Time Management
Time management is a skill–and it’s one that many students struggle with. Teach your child to use their time effectively, especially when they have larger homework projects to deal with or need to juggle many responsibilities. Some students, especially those with ADHD or learning disabilities, may struggle to properly manage their time in a way that allows them to get everything done. Work to teach:
- Estimating how long it will take to get a task done
- Avoiding multitasking, which can slow down the task-completion process
- Minimizing distractions
- Focusing on the task at hand
- Getting important tasks out of the way first
Experiment with different strategies, including jumping in with the hardest or biggest task versus knocking out small homework tasks first, to see what works best for your child.
5. Break Tasks Into Smaller Chunks
Often, homework appears daunting, especially for students with limited attention spans or who struggle with focus and concentration. Work with your student to break down large tasks, especially projects, into smaller, more manageable chunks. Large worksheets or textbook assignments may be better broken down into smaller segments. By breaking them down, you allow your child to focus on a small, attainable piece at a time and celebrate those accomplishments, rather than getting frustrated by larger task completion requirements.
Dealing with homework stress can be difficult for parents and students alike. At The Tenney School, we help our students learn essential time management skills that can help them deal with homework stress while enhancing learning. Contact us today to learn more about our educational solutions and how they may work for your child.