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How Do I Manage My Child's Homework?

By Allison Gardenswartz, Consulting Educator

Question:

My daughter's homework load has increased with more research reports and assignments that are due over a longer period of time. She has been procrastinating until the last minute. Then she panics, stays up late and turns in work that is not up to par. How can I help her manage her homework time better?

Answer:

Time management is the key to middle school, and educators often start preparing students for this process in the fifth grade.

First of all, make sure your daughter has a day planner of some type and sit with her weekly to list all of her assignments. Then divide up the long-term projects into smaller ones. Initially you will need to do this with her so you can teach her how this process works. Take a big research paper and divide it into smaller parts: choose a date to have a topic chosen, a date to have an outline completed, a date to have note cards ready, a rough draft deadline and then a final copy deadline. Then monitor your daughter's progress.

Sometimes the prospect of a big project like a research paper is overwhelming. Students don't know how to begin to tackle it so they just put it off. If you help her divide it into smaller and more manageable pieces, she will be more likely to stick to her timeline.

She is also at the age where I would recommend allowing the natural consequences of her actions to occur. If she does procrastinate, she may have to stay up late, feel tired the next day and not get the desired grade on the assignment. This is all part of the learning process.

You can discuss this together as it occurs and strategize as to how to prevent this situation from occurring in the future.


Allison Gardenswartz is the founder of a San Diego tutoring center specializing in gifted and remedial learning and test preparation studies. An educator for over 15 years, Allison is an expert in identifying and enhancing the learning abilities of school-age children. Allison now fully devotes her time to parent education, consulting and college counseling. Allison has a teaching credential and has taught for several years in various public school systems. She has three children: Jacob, 11, Sofia, 7, and newly adopted Ryan, who is 3.

Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

11/2/2007:
"I like your expert opinion on if a student is better to do homework in an after care or with the parent a home. This relates to a fourth grader and a sixth grader."
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