Yay! They’re home from school and ready to relax, join their friends outdoors or watch television. Yet there is homework to be done and the sooner after the classroom lesson that the homework is done, the better the student will be able to recall what was just taught and the easier it will be to do the homework.
They’ll most likely be hungry too. Depending upon how long it is before dinnertime, they might be accustomed to after school snacking. If so, snacks which include plenty of protein for lasting energy would be the best to offer. Sugars, concentrated carbohydrates, provide only a short burst of energy after which there may be a slump of sleepiness. Whatever the case, it’s beneficial to encourage the drinking of water instead of carbonated beverages. Being well hydrated helps to keep the brain alert.
It’s best to have a routine time for homework and a designated area as well. A place where supplies are convenient and distractions are at a minimum would be ideal. Maximizing the attention is key to completing homework correctly and efficiently so there is still plenty of time for the student to play and relax.
Making a brief written homework plan each day teaches your student to be organized and purposeful as well as helping to recall exactly what the teacher said to do. Even though your student should be writing down each assignment in a notebook while still in class, notations can get missed or forgotten. Ask your child about each subject's assignments and make certain that they are written down at the outset so that they can be checked off to provide a feeling of accomplishment. Help your student plan his homework goals with time management in mindso that adequate time is spent on the more difficult subjects first as that’s when memory is keenest and attention is sharpest. Besides that, your child will feel a sense of relief when the most difficult is completed rather than experiencing dread if it is looming ahead to be done.
Attention can be like a slippery fish. When students are able to pay attention, they can participate and they are more likely to pay increased attention when they can actively participate. In addition to its being a learning experience, homework is practice in paying attention, preparing to participate.
Your student might complete assigned reading without remembering what he or she read. Sometimes it’s difficult to concentrate. Keeping a pencil and paper handy for the student write down key ideas from each paragraph will help to keep your child on track as to what he or she is learning and will reinforce the knowledge as well. This is also a good exercise for note taking and can prove to be a study guide too.
Mind-wandering can occur while doing math problems and that often leads to unnecessary errors. Homework checking is always a good idea so that mistakes are identified early on and can be corrected before the student perpetuates the errors. Often it’s just that the student wasn’t paying attention and the having to do some problems over means extra time to complete homework or a lower test score in class. Early identification and correction of math errors is necessary for the student to successfully progress on with new material. If necessary, ask the teacher to re-explain a math procedure before the teacher moves on with new material which may leave the student lost in class. The student who is lost in class is uncomfortable, is unable to participate and finds it difficult to pay attention to the new learning as he just doesn’t know what is going on.
Since a due date of ‘a few weeks from now’ might seem like ‘forever away’ to your student, it’s a good idea to inquire regularly about project assignments which your child might not think to mention because they are not due immediately and he or she doesn’t consider them ‘homework’. Talk with your student about the project and the steps which will need to be taken in order to complete it, including library visits and gathering supplies. The individual steps can then be scheduled so that the child will feel comfortable with having the project assignment rather than feeling overwhelmed or avoiding the thinking about it altogether.
It’s easier to pay attention, to focus upon an individual step and to complete that step well, knowing that plans have been made for the next steps and that the project is going to be completed on time. He or she will have the satisfaction of moving along in achievable small and meaningful stages, making progress toward the outcome. The ability to plan, organize and complete a long-term goal is an important skill for a child to learn. The ability to focus, to pay attention, is a time-saver and an achievement maker.
At Lear Educational Center students are taught time and attention management strategies to meet their goals of today and challenges of tomorrow.