How to Set up a Homework Schedule for your Child

Quality homework completion plays a vital role in academic success.  Setting up a homework schedule that works for your child can be a difficult task.  Here are some helpful ideas for you to consider while working on this task.

First and foremost, talk to your child about utilizing an agenda.  Most schools provide a student agenda at the beginning of each school year.  If this is not the case, buy your child a planner.  Organization is the key to successful homework schedule planning.  Remind your child to write down every assignment as the teacher assigns it.  Provide a folder that all rubrics and upcoming project handouts can go in to.  Let them know that you will be checking it from time to time so that you can help.

There are two different homework scheduling techniques that are equally effective.  One is to allow your child a snack and a break after a long day at school before they tackle their homework.  The other technique is to follow the ‘work now, play later’ mentality where homework needs to be started as soon as the child arrives at home.  Even if they have a snack, they can eat it while doing homework.  Take your child’s personality and work ethic into consideration while choosing one of these techniques.  Some children need a break or they become overwhelmed.  Others will turn off if allowed to take that academic break so the ‘work before play’ rule would help their productivity.  Other factors to consider would be after school activities and chores.  Once you understand exactly what your child needs to do after school you will better understand what time blocks you can fit homework into.  In the evenings there are meals to be eaten, extracurricular obligations and other activities that will quickly take away available time so make sure homework is a priority.

Encourage your child to be a self starter.  If you are a working parent, suggest that your child do as much homework as possible before you get home.  Once you are available to help, your child can come to you with questions in order to complete the rest of their homework.  A homework load can often be heavy for a child.  They could take advantage of down time at school or on the bus to get started on easy assignments.  Have them look ahead in their agenda every week for upcoming projects.  At home, finish daily assignments first then allot time for projects.  For example, if your child starts on Monday on a project that is due the following Monday, they will be taking advantage of the head start the teacher has offered by informing them of the project well before the due date.  Estimate how many hours the project will take to finish and then break it down into days.  If a project will take 5 hours to complete, you should set aside at least 30-45 minutes every evening for work on the project.  The finishing touches can be done over the weekend. Your child will have had time to overcome any unforeseen complications and the project can be turned in with no last minute stress.

Above all, hold your child accountable for his or her homework responsibility but check in with the teachers however often you feel the need.  One time of missing an assignment is understandable.  A whole week of an empty agenda and statements of “We had a sub today.” or “I don’t have any homework.” are red flags and reason for concern.  Get details from the teachers and set consequences for your child if they continue to put off their homework responsibilities.

Setting up a successful homework schedule will probably be trial and error for the first few weeks of school.  Once you have found a good schedule that works for your child, write it out and post in the area where your child does homework so the expectations are clear. 

Helping your child with a successful homework schedule not only creates academic success now, your child is learning life lessons of self discipline for college and into the workplace.