Parent-teacher conferences are approaching, students are celebrating the 100th day of school, and the second half of the school year is here. This is a perfect time of year to reset your student's study habits and to build a schedule for success!
Creating time and space for your student to complete homework and to study is incredibly important during the school year. Design the school work space and schedule with your student so that it is a team effort, meets the needs and has a personal feel from the start.
Building Homework and Study Space
Find a clean, organized space with all of the necessary supplies - this means, pencils, pens, erasers, art supplies, paper, calculator, ruler, books, clock, tissues - anything that may provide a reason to get up and look for what is needed. Searching the house for a red pen or a stapler can become a way to leave the space and become distracted. Get ahead of this by preparing the area with the essentials. Next, focus on as little distractions as possible, this means phones, video games, and all other electronics. Some students may ask for music, and this works for many students. However, when reading, especially for younger students, music often makes the reading more challenging.
What about seating and lighting? Can you use an exercise ball and a lower desk for an active student, or a bean bag chair and a lap tray? Would a smaller desk lamp be a more relaxing light? Giving options for the student will promote ownership of the space as well. Find what works best and provide options so the space presents a personal and comfortable feeling. Make it a place where the student wants to spend time. Keep this area designated for your student and ready to use. If it is difficult to sit down and get started due to a mess, the student may be discouraged to get started. Finding storage spaces will alleviate this problem and give the space multiple uses if the school supplies can be easily accessed when needed.
Developing a Homework and Activities Calendar
You can support your student by setting a schedule that works for the family and the student when s/he can thrive when returning home from school. Creating a homework and activities calendar will allow the entire family to see what is coming up and to prevent last-minute stress over missing assignments and upcoming quizzes or tests. This calendar can also develop time management skills as the family looks at the week ahead to ensure homework and studying is completed. Some students prefer to have a term, weekly and daily calendar to not only see the big picture but to also feel accomplished at the end of each daily study session. Using an after school checklist to build routine for students that lists items such as snack options, homework for the day, and any extra-curricular activities for that evening allows the student to know the plan for the time at home and encourages time management to make time for fun.
Motivating Your Student
Most importantly, use this study space to showcase your student's work and to share motivational thoughts! Finding wall space to display outstanding work and awards reminds the student of recent accomplishments and can be the perfect talking point on a day when the homework is challenging or a big test is causing stress. A few photos of special moments and one or two smaller quotes to glance up on a tough day can make a big difference for a student. Building a designated area and a schedule shows how much you care, and these small touches can make the space even more special with positive reminders from the ones who love the student most.
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