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Sat / act prep online guides and tips, how to do homework: 15 expert tips and tricks.
Everyone struggles with homework sometimes, but if getting your homework done has become a chronic issue for you, then you may need a little extra help. That’s why we’ve written this article all about how to do homework. Once you’re finished reading it, you’ll know how to do homework (and have tons of new ways to motivate yourself to do homework)!
We’ve broken this article down into a few major sections. You’ll find:
- A diagnostic test to help you figure out why you’re struggling with homework
- A discussion of the four major homework problems students face, along with expert tips for addressing them
- A bonus section with tips for how to do homework fast
By the end of this article, you’ll be prepared to tackle whatever homework assignments your teachers throw at you .
So let’s get started!
How to Do Homework: Figure Out Your Struggles
Sometimes it feels like everything is standing between you and getting your homework done. But the truth is, most people only have one or two major roadblocks that are keeping them from getting their homework done well and on time.
The best way to figure out how to get motivated to do homework starts with pinpointing the issues that are affecting your ability to get your assignments done. That’s why we’ve developed a short quiz to help you identify the areas where you’re struggling.
Take the quiz below and record your answers on your phone or on a scrap piece of paper. Keep in mind there are no wrong answers!
1. You’ve just been assigned an essay in your English class that’s due at the end of the week. What’s the first thing you do?
A. Keep it in mind, even though you won’t start it until the day before it’s due B. Open up your planner. You’ve got to figure out when you’ll write your paper since you have band practice, a speech tournament, and your little sister’s dance recital this week, too. C. Groan out loud. Another essay? You could barely get yourself to write the last one! D. Start thinking about your essay topic, which makes you think about your art project that’s due the same day, which reminds you that your favorite artist might have just posted to Instagram...so you better check your feed right now.
2. Your mom asked you to pick up your room before she gets home from work. You’ve just gotten home from school. You decide you’ll tackle your chores:
A. Five minutes before your mom walks through the front door. As long as it gets done, who cares when you start? B. As soon as you get home from your shift at the local grocery store. C. After you give yourself a 15-minute pep talk about how you need to get to work. D. You won’t get it done. Between texts from your friends, trying to watch your favorite Netflix show, and playing with your dog, you just lost track of time!
3. You’ve signed up to wash dogs at the Humane Society to help earn money for your senior class trip. You:
A. Show up ten minutes late. You put off leaving your house until the last minute, then got stuck in unexpected traffic on the way to the shelter. B. Have to call and cancel at the last minute. You forgot you’d already agreed to babysit your cousin and bake cupcakes for tomorrow’s bake sale. C. Actually arrive fifteen minutes early with extra brushes and bandanas you picked up at the store. You’re passionate about animals, so you’re excited to help out! D. Show up on time, but only get three dogs washed. You couldn’t help it: you just kept getting distracted by how cute they were!
4. You have an hour of downtime, so you decide you’re going to watch an episode of The Great British Baking Show. You:
A. Scroll through your social media feeds for twenty minutes before hitting play, which means you’re not able to finish the whole episode. Ugh! You really wanted to see who was sent home! B. Watch fifteen minutes until you remember you’re supposed to pick up your sister from band practice before heading to your part-time job. No GBBO for you! C. You finish one episode, then decide to watch another even though you’ve got SAT studying to do. It’s just more fun to watch people make scones. D. Start the episode, but only catch bits and pieces of it because you’re reading Twitter, cleaning out your backpack, and eating a snack at the same time.
5. Your teacher asks you to stay after class because you’ve missed turning in two homework assignments in a row. When she asks you what’s wrong, you say:
A. You planned to do your assignments during lunch, but you ran out of time. You decided it would be better to turn in nothing at all than submit unfinished work. B. You really wanted to get the assignments done, but between your extracurriculars, family commitments, and your part-time job, your homework fell through the cracks. C. You have a hard time psyching yourself to tackle the assignments. You just can’t seem to find the motivation to work on them once you get home. D. You tried to do them, but you had a hard time focusing. By the time you realized you hadn’t gotten anything done, it was already time to turn them in.
Like we said earlier, there are no right or wrong answers to this quiz (though your results will be better if you answered as honestly as possible). Here’s how your answers break down:
- If your answers were mostly As, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is procrastination.
- If your answers were mostly Bs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is time management.
- If your answers were mostly Cs, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is motivation.
- If your answers were mostly Ds, then your biggest struggle with doing homework is getting distracted.
Now that you’ve identified why you’re having a hard time getting your homework done, we can help you figure out how to fix it! Scroll down to find your core problem area to learn more about how you can start to address it.
And one more thing: you’re really struggling with homework, it’s a good idea to read through every section below. You may find some additional tips that will help make homework less intimidating.
How to Do Homework When You’re a Procrastinator
Merriam Webster defines “procrastinate” as “to put off intentionally and habitually.” In other words, procrastination is when you choose to do something at the last minute on a regular basis. If you’ve ever found yourself pulling an all-nighter, trying to finish an assignment between periods, or sprinting to turn in a paper minutes before a deadline, you’ve experienced the effects of procrastination.
If you’re a chronic procrastinator, you’re in good company. In fact, one study found that 70% to 95% of undergraduate students procrastinate when it comes to doing their homework. Unfortunately, procrastination can negatively impact your grades. Researchers have found that procrastination can lower your grade on an assignment by as much as five points ...which might not sound serious until you realize that can mean the difference between a B- and a C+.
Procrastination can also negatively affect your health by increasing your stress levels , which can lead to other health conditions like insomnia, a weakened immune system, and even heart conditions. Getting a handle on procrastination can not only improve your grades, it can make you feel better, too!
The big thing to understand about procrastination is that it’s not the result of laziness. Laziness is defined as being “disinclined to activity or exertion.” In other words, being lazy is all about doing nothing. But a s this Psychology Today article explains , procrastinators don’t put things off because they don’t want to work. Instead, procrastinators tend to postpone tasks they don’t want to do in favor of tasks that they perceive as either more important or more fun. Put another way, procrastinators want to do things...as long as it’s not their homework!
3 Tips f or Conquering Procrastination
Because putting off doing homework is a common problem, there are lots of good tactics for addressing procrastination. Keep reading for our three expert tips that will get your homework habits back on track in no time.
#1: Create a Reward System
Like we mentioned earlier, procrastination happens when you prioritize other activities over getting your homework done. Many times, this happens because homework...well, just isn’t enjoyable. But you can add some fun back into the process by rewarding yourself for getting your work done.
Here’s what we mean: let’s say you decide that every time you get your homework done before the day it’s due, you’ll give yourself a point. For every five points you earn, you’ll treat yourself to your favorite dessert: a chocolate cupcake! Now you have an extra (delicious!) incentive to motivate you to leave procrastination in the dust.
If you’re not into cupcakes, don’t worry. Your reward can be anything that motivates you . Maybe it’s hanging out with your best friend or an extra ten minutes of video game time. As long as you’re choosing something that makes homework worth doing, you’ll be successful.
#2: Have a Homework Accountability Partner
If you’re having trouble getting yourself to start your homework ahead of time, it may be a good idea to call in reinforcements . Find a friend or classmate you can trust and explain to them that you’re trying to change your homework habits. Ask them if they’d be willing to text you to make sure you’re doing your homework and check in with you once a week to see if you’re meeting your anti-procrastination goals.
Sharing your goals can make them feel more real, and an accountability partner can help hold you responsible for your decisions. For example, let’s say you’re tempted to put off your science lab write-up until the morning before it’s due. But you know that your accountability partner is going to text you about it tomorrow...and you don’t want to fess up that you haven’t started your assignment. A homework accountability partner can give you the extra support and incentive you need to keep your homework habits on track.
#3: Create Your Own Due Dates
If you’re a life-long procrastinator, you might find that changing the habit is harder than you expected. In that case, you might try using procrastination to your advantage! If you just can’t seem to stop doing your work at the last minute, try setting your own due dates for assignments that range from a day to a week before the assignment is actually due.
Here’s what we mean. Let’s say you have a math worksheet that’s been assigned on Tuesday and is due on Friday. In your planner, you can write down the due date as Thursday instead. You may still put off your homework assignment until the last minute...but in this case, the “last minute” is a day before the assignment’s real due date . This little hack can trick your procrastination-addicted brain into planning ahead!
If you feel like Kevin Hart in this meme, then our tips for doing homework when you're busy are for you.
How to Do Homework When You’re too Busy
If you’re aiming to go to a top-tier college , you’re going to have a full plate. Because college admissions is getting more competitive, it’s important that you’re maintaining your grades , studying hard for your standardized tests , and participating in extracurriculars so your application stands out. A packed schedule can get even more hectic once you add family obligations or a part-time job to the mix.
If you feel like you’re being pulled in a million directions at once, you’re not alone. Recent research has found that stress—and more severe stress-related conditions like anxiety and depression— are a major problem for high school students . In fact, one study from the American Psychological Association found that during the school year, students’ stress levels are higher than those of the adults around them.
For students, homework is a major contributor to their overall stress levels . Many high schoolers have multiple hours of homework every night , and figuring out how to fit it into an already-packed schedule can seem impossible.
3 Tips for Fitting Homework Into Your Busy Schedule
While it might feel like you have literally no time left in your schedule, there are still ways to make sure you’re able to get your homework done and meet your other commitments. Here are our expert homework tips for even the busiest of students.
#1: Make a Prioritized To-Do List
You probably already have a to-do list to keep yourself on track. The next step is to prioritize the items on your to-do list so you can see what items need your attention right away.
Here’s how it works: at the beginning of each day, sit down and make a list of all the items you need to get done before you go to bed. This includes your homework, but it should also take into account any practices, chores, events, or job shifts you may have. Once you get everything listed out, it’s time to prioritize them using the labels A, B, and C. Here’s what those labels mean:
- A Tasks : tasks that have to get done—like showing up at work or turning in an assignment—get an A.
- B Tasks : these are tasks that you would like to get done by the end of the day but aren’t as time sensitive. For example, studying for a test you have next week could be a B-level task. It’s still important, but it doesn’t have to be done right away.
- C Tasks: these are tasks that aren’t very important and/or have no real consequences if you don’t get them done immediately. For instance, if you’re hoping to clean out your closet but it’s not an assigned chore from your parents, you could label that to-do item with a C.
Prioritizing your to-do list helps you visualize which items need your immediate attention, and which items you can leave for later. A prioritized to-do list ensures that you’re spending your time efficiently and effectively, which helps you make room in your schedule for homework. So even though you might really want to start making decorations for Homecoming (a B task), you’ll know that finishing your reading log (an A task) is more important.
#2: Use a Planner With Time Labels
Your planner is probably packed with notes, events, and assignments already. (And if you’re not using a planner, it’s time to start!) But planners can do more for you than just remind you when an assignment is due. If you’re using a planner with time labels, it can help you visualize how you need to spend your day.
A planner with time labels breaks your day down into chunks, and you assign tasks to each chunk of time. For example, you can make a note of your class schedule with assignments, block out time to study, and make sure you know when you need to be at practice. Once you know which tasks take priority, you can add them to any empty spaces in your day.
Planning out how you spend your time not only helps you use it wisely, it can help you feel less overwhelmed, too . We’re big fans of planners that include a task list ( like this one ) or have room for notes ( like this one ).
#3: Set Reminders on Your Phone
If you need a little extra nudge to make sure you’re getting your homework done on time, it’s a good idea to set some reminders on your phone. You don’t need a fancy app, either. You can use your alarm app to have it go off at specific times throughout the day to remind you to do your homework. This works especially well if you have a set homework time scheduled. So if you’ve decided you’re doing homework at 6:00 pm, you can set an alarm to remind you to bust out your books and get to work.
If you use your phone as your planner, you may have the option to add alerts, emails, or notifications to scheduled events . Many calendar apps, including the one that comes with your phone, have built-in reminders that you can customize to meet your needs. So if you block off time to do your homework from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, you can set a reminder that will pop up on your phone when it’s time to get started.
This dog isn't judging your lack of motivation...but your teacher might. Keep reading for tips to help you motivate yourself to do your homework.
How to Do Homework When You’re Unmotivated
At first glance, it may seem like procrastination and being unmotivated are the same thing. After all, both of these issues usually result in you putting off your homework until the very last minute.
But there’s one key difference: many procrastinators are working, they’re just prioritizing work differently. They know they’re going to start their homework...they’re just going to do it later.
Conversely, people who are unmotivated to do homework just can’t find the willpower to tackle their assignments. Procrastinators know they’ll at least attempt the homework at the last minute, whereas people who are unmotivated struggle with convincing themselves to do it at a ll. For procrastinators, the stress comes from the inevitable time crunch. For unmotivated people, the stress comes from trying to convince themselves to do something they don’t want to do in the first place.
Here are some common reasons students are unmotivated in doing homework :
- Assignments are too easy, too hard, or seemingly pointless
- Students aren’t interested in (or passionate about) the subject matter
- Students are intimidated by the work and/or feels like they don’t understand the assignment
- Homework isn’t fun, and students would rather spend their time on things that they enjoy
To sum it up: people who lack motivation to do their homework are more likely to not do it at all, or to spend more time worrying about doing their homework than...well, actually doing it.
3 Tips for How to Get Motivated to Do Homework
The key to getting homework done when you’re unmotivated is to figure out what does motivate you, then apply those things to homework. It sounds tricky...but it’s pretty simple once you get the hang of it! Here are our three expert tips for motivating yourself to do your homework.
#1: Use Incremental Incentives
When you’re not motivated, it’s important to give yourself small rewards to stay focused on finishing the task at hand. The trick is to keep the incentives small and to reward yourself often. For example, maybe you’re reading a good book in your free time. For every ten minutes you spend on your homework, you get to read five pages of your book. Like we mentioned earlier, make sure you’re choosing a reward that works for you!
So why does this technique work? Using small rewards more often allows you to experience small wins for getting your work done. Every time you make it to one of your tiny reward points, you get to celebrate your success, which gives your brain a boost of dopamine . Dopamine helps you stay motivated and also creates a feeling of satisfaction when you complete your homework !
#2: Form a Homework Group
If you’re having trouble motivating yourself, it’s okay to turn to others for support. Creating a homework group can help with this. Bring together a group of your friends or classmates, and pick one time a week where you meet and work on homework together. You don’t have to be in the same class, or even taking the same subjects— the goal is to encourage one another to start (and finish!) your assignments.
Another added benefit of a homework group is that you can help one another if you’re struggling to understand the material covered in your classes. This is especially helpful if your lack of motivation comes from being intimidated by your assignments. Asking your friends for help may feel less scary than talking to your teacher...and once you get a handle on the material, your homework may become less frightening, too.
#3: Change Up Your Environment
If you find that you’re totally unmotivated, it may help if you find a new place to do your homework. For example, if you’ve been struggling to get your homework done at home, try spending an extra hour in the library after school instead. The change of scenery can limit your distractions and give you the energy you need to get your work done.
If you’re stuck doing homework at home, you can still use this tip. For instance, maybe you’ve always done your homework sitting on your bed. Try relocating somewhere else, like your kitchen table, for a few weeks. You may find that setting up a new “homework spot” in your house gives you a motivational lift and helps you get your work done.
Social media can be a huge problem when it comes to doing homework. We have advice for helping you unplug and regain focus.
How to Do Homework When You’re Easily Distracted
We live in an always-on world, and there are tons of things clamoring for our attention. From friends and family to pop culture and social media, it seems like there’s always something (or someone!) distracting us from the things we need to do.
The 24/7 world we live in has affected our ability to focus on tasks for prolonged periods of time. Research has shown that over the past decade, an average person’s attention span has gone from 12 seconds to eight seconds . And when we do lose focus, i t takes people a long time to get back on task . One study found that it can take as long as 23 minutes to get back to work once we’ve been distracte d. No wonder it can take hours to get your homework done!
3 Tips to Improve Your Focus
If you have a hard time focusing when you’re doing your homework, it’s a good idea to try and eliminate as many distractions as possible. Here are three expert tips for blocking out the noise so you can focus on getting your homework done.
#1: Create a Distraction-Free Environment
Pick a place where you’ll do your homework every day, and make it as distraction-free as possible. Try to find a location where there won’t be tons of noise, and limit your access to screens while you’re doing your homework. Put together a focus-oriented playlist (or choose one on your favorite streaming service), and put your headphones on while you work.
You may find that other people, like your friends and family, are your biggest distraction. If that’s the case, try setting up some homework boundaries. Let them know when you’ll be working on homework every day, and ask them if they’ll help you keep a quiet environment. They’ll be happy to lend a hand!
#2: Limit Your Access to Technology
We know, we know...this tip isn’t fun, but it does work. For homework that doesn’t require a computer, like handouts or worksheets, it’s best to put all your technology away . Turn off your television, put your phone and laptop in your backpack, and silence notifications on any wearable tech you may be sporting. If you listen to music while you work, that’s fine...but make sure you have a playlist set up so you’re not shuffling through songs once you get started on your homework.
If your homework requires your laptop or tablet, it can be harder to limit your access to distractions. But it’s not impossible! T here are apps you can download that will block certain websites while you’re working so that you’re not tempted to scroll through Twitter or check your Facebook feed. Silence notifications and text messages on your computer, and don’t open your email account unless you absolutely have to. And if you don’t need access to the internet to complete your assignments, turn off your WiFi. Cutting out the online chatter is a great way to make sure you’re getting your homework done.
#3: Set a Timer (the Pomodoro Technique)
Have you ever heard of the Pomodoro technique ? It’s a productivity hack that uses a timer to help you focus!
Here’s how it works: first, set a timer for 25 minutes. This is going to be your work time. During this 25 minutes, all you can do is work on whatever homework assignment you have in front of you. No email, no text messaging, no phone calls—just homework. When that timer goes off, y ou get to take a 5 minute break. Every time you go through one of these cycles, it’s called a “pomodoro.” For every four pomodoros you complete, you can take a longer break of 15 to 30 minutes.
The pomodoro technique works through a combination of boundary setting and rewards. First, it gives you a finite amount of time to focus, so you know that you only have to work really hard for 25 minutes. Once you’ve done that, you’re rewarded with a short break where you can do whatever you want. Additionally, tracking how many pomodoros you complete can help you see how long you’re really working on your homework. (Once you start using our focus tips, you may find it doesn’t take as long as you thought!)
Two Bonus Tips for How to Do Homework Fast
Even if you’re doing everything right, there will be times when you just need to get your homework done as fast as possible. (Why do teachers always have projects due in the same week? The world may never know.)
The problem with speeding through homework is that it’s easy to make mistakes. While turning in an assignment is always better than not submitting anything at all, you want to make sure that you’re not compromising quality for speed. Simply put, the goal is to get your homework done quickly and still make a good grade on the assignment!
Here are our two bonus tips for getting a decent grade on your homework assignments , even when you’re in a time crunch.
#1: Do the Easy Parts First
This is especially true if you’re working on a handout with multiple questions. Before you start working on the assignment, read through all the questions and problems. As you do, make a mark beside the questions you think are “easy” to answer .
Once you’ve finished going through the whole assignment, you can answer these questions first. Getting the easy questions out of the way as quickly as possible lets you spend more time on the trickier portions of your homework, which will maximize your assignment grade.
(Quick note: this is also a good strategy to use on timed assignments and tests, like the SAT and the ACT !)
#2: Pay Attention in Class
Homework gets a lot easier when you’re actively learning the material. Teachers aren’t giving you homework because they’re mean or trying to ruin your weekend... it’s because they want you to really understand the course material. Homework is designed to reinforce what you’re already learning in class so you’ll be ready to tackle harder concepts later.
When you pay attention in class, ask questions, and take good notes, you’re absorbing the information you’ll need to succeed on your homework assignments. (You’re stuck in class anyway, so you might as well make the most of it!) Not only will paying attention in class make your homework less confusing, it will also help it go much faster, too.
If you’re looking to improve your productivity beyond homework, a good place to begin is with time management. After all, we only have so much time in a day...so it’s important to get the most out of it! To get you started, check out this list of the 12 best time management techniques that you can start using today.
You may have read this article because homework struggles have been affecting your GPA. Now that you’re on the path to homework success, it’s time to start being proactive about raising your grades. This article teaches you everything you need to know about raising your GPA so you can
Now you know how to get motivated to do homework...but what about your study habits? Studying is just as critical to getting good grades, and ultimately getting into a good college . We can teach you how to study bette r in high school. (We’ve also got tons of resources to help you study for your ACT and SAT exams , too!)
Need more help with this topic? Check out Tutorbase!
Our vetted tutor database includes a range of experienced educators who can help you polish an essay for English or explain how derivatives work for Calculus. You can use dozens of filters and search criteria to find the perfect person for your needs.
Ashley Sufflé Robinson has a Ph.D. in 19th Century English Literature. As a content writer for PrepScholar, Ashley is passionate about giving college-bound students the in-depth information they need to get into the school of their dreams.
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Strategies to make homework go more smoothly.
Routines and incentive systems to help kids succeed
Writer: Peg Dawson, EdD, NCSP
Clinical Expert: Peg Dawson, EdD, NCSP
Here is the best guide to helping kids do homework successfully that we’ve seen, published by the National Association of School Psychologists on their website, NASPonline.org . Our thanks to NASP for sharing it with us.
There are two key strategies parents can draw on to reduce homework hassles. The first is to establish clear routines around homework, including when and where homework gets done and setting up daily schedules for homework. The second is to build in rewards or incentives to use with children for whom “good grades” is not a sufficient reward for doing homework.
Tasks are easiest to accomplish when tied to specific routines. By establishing daily routines for homework completion, you will not only make homework go more smoothly, but you will also be fostering a sense of order your child can apply to later life, including college and work.
Step 1. Find a location in the house where homework will be done. The right location will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom. It is a quiet location, away from the hubbub of family noise. Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Some children need to work by themselves. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Ask your child where the best place is to work. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location.
Step 2. Set up a homework center. Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a home office/homework center. Make sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments. Outfit the homework center with the kinds of supplies your child is most likely to need, such as pencils, pens, colored markers, rulers, scissors, a dictionary and thesaurus, graph paper, construction paper, glue and cellophane tape, lined paper, a calculator, spell checker, and, depending on the age and needs of your child, a computer or laptop. If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep the supplies in a portable crate or bin. If possible, the homework center should include a bulletin board that can hold a monthly calendar on which your child can keep track of longterm assignments. Allowing children some leeway in decorating the homework center can help them feel at home there, but you should be careful that it does not become too cluttered with distracting materials.
Step 3. Establish a homework time. Your child should get in the habit of doing homework at the same time every day. The time may vary depending on the individual child. Some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack. Others need to start homework while they are still in a school mode (i.e., right after school when there is still some momentum left from getting through the day). In general, it may be best to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as the child can tolerate. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done.
Step 4. Establish a daily homework schedule. In general, at least into middle school, the homework session should begin with your sitting down with your child and drawing up a homework schedule. You should review all the assignments and make sure your child understands them and has all the necessary materials. Ask your child to estimate how long it will take to complete each assignment. Then ask when each assignment will get started. If your child needs help with any assignment , then this should be determined at the beginning so that the start times can take into account parent availability. A Daily Homework Planner is included at the end of this handout and contains a place for identifying when breaks may be taken and what rewards may be earned.
Many children who are not motivated by the enjoyment of doing homework are motivated by the high grade they hope to earn as a result of doing a quality job. Thus, the grade is an incentive, motivating the child to do homework with care and in a timely manner. For children who are not motivated by grades, parents will need to look for other rewards to help them get through their nightly chores. Incentive systems fall into two categories: simple and elaborate.
Simple incentive systems. The simplest incentive system is reminding the child of a fun activity to do when homework is done. It may be a favorite television show, a chance to spend some time with a video or computer game, talking on the telephone or instant messaging, or playing a game with a parent. This system of withholding fun things until the drudgery is over is sometimes called Grandma’s Law because grandmothers often use it quite effectively (“First take out the trash, then you can have chocolate chip cookies.”). Having something to look forward to can be a powerful incentive to get the hard work done. When parents remind children of this as they sit down at their desks they may be able to spark the engine that drives the child to stick with the work until it is done.
Elaborate incentive systems. These involve more planning and more work on the part of parents but in some cases are necessary to address more significant homework problems. More complex incentives systems might include a structure for earning points that could be used to “purchase” privileges or rewards or a system that provides greater reward for accomplishing more difficult homework tasks. These systems work best when parents and children together develop them. Giving children input gives them a sense of control and ownership, making the system more likely to succeed. We have found that children are generally realistic in setting goals and deciding on rewards and penalties when they are involved in the decision-making process.
Building in breaks. These are good for the child who cannot quite make it to the end without a small reward en route. When creating the daily homework schedule, it may be useful with these children to identify when they will take their breaks. Some children prefer to take breaks at specific time intervals (every 15 minutes), while others do better when the breaks occur after they finish an activity. If you use this approach, you should discuss with your child how long the breaks will last and what will be done during the breaks (get a snack, call a friend, play one level on a video game). The Daily Homework Planner includes sections where breaks and end-of-homework rewards can be identified.
Building in choice. This can be an effective strategy for parents to use with children who resist homework. Choice can be incorporated into both the order in which the child agrees to complete assignments and the schedule they will follow to get the work done. Building in choice not only helps motivate children but can also reduce power struggles between parents and children.
Developing Incentive Systems
Step 1. Describe the problem behaviors. Parents and children decide which behaviors are causing problems at homework time. For some children putting homework off to the last minute is the problem; for others, it is forgetting materials or neglecting to write down assignments. Still others rush through their work and make careless mistakes, while others dawdle over assignments, taking hours to complete what should take only a few minutes. It is important to be as specific as possible when describing the problem behaviors. The problem behavior should be described as behaviors that can be seen or heard; for instance, complains about h omework or rushes through homework, making many mistakes are better descriptors than has a bad attitude or is lazy.
Step 2. Set a goal. Usually the goal relates directly to the problem behavior. For instance, if not writing down assignments is the problem, the goal might be: “Joe will write down his assignments in his assignment book for every class.”
Step 3. Decide on possible rewards and penalties. Homework incentive systems work best when children have a menu of rewards to choose from, since no single reward will be attractive for long. We recommend a point system in which points can be earned for the goal behaviors and traded in for the reward the child wants to earn. The bigger the reward, the more points the child will need to earn it. The menu should include both larger, more expensive rewards that may take a week or a month to earn and smaller, inexpensive rewards that can be earned daily. It may also be necessary to build penalties into the system. This is usually the loss of a privilege (such as the chance to watch a favorite TV show or the chance to talk on the telephone to a friend).
Once the system is up and running, and if you find your child is earning more penalties than rewards, then the program needs to be revised so that your child can be more successful. Usually when this kind of system fails, we think of it as a design failure rather than the failure of the child to respond to rewards. It may be a good idea if you are having difficulty designing a system that works to consult a specialist, such as a school psychologist or counselor, for assistance.
Step 4. Write a homework contract. The contract should say exactly what the child agrees to do and exactly what the parents’ roles and responsibilities will be. When the contract is in place, it should reduce some of the tension parents and kids often experience around homework. For instance, if part of the contract is that the child will earn a point for not complaining about homework, then if the child does complain, this should not be cause for a battle between parent and child: the child simply does not earn that point. Parents should also be sure to praise their children for following the contract. It will be important for parents to agree to a contract they can live with; that is, avoiding penalties they are either unable or unwilling to impose (e.g., if both parents work and are not at home, they cannot monitor whether a child is beginning homework right after school, so an alternative contract may need to be written).
We have found that it is a rare incentive system that works the first time. Parents should expect to try it out and redesign it to work the kinks out. Eventually, once the child is used to doing the behaviors specified in the contract, the contract can be rewritten to work on another problem behavior. Your child over time may be willing to drop the use of an incentive system altogether. This is often a long-term goal, however, and you should be ready to write a new contract if your child slips back to bad habits once a system is dropped.
Click here to download the homework planner and incentive sheet .
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What’s the Right Amount of Homework?
Decades of research show that homework has some benefits, especially for students in middle and high school—but there are risks to assigning too much.
Many teachers and parents believe that homework helps students build study skills and review concepts learned in class. Others see homework as disruptive and unnecessary, leading to burnout and turning kids off to school. Decades of research show that the issue is more nuanced and complex than most people think: Homework is beneficial, but only to a degree. Students in high school gain the most, while younger kids benefit much less.
The National PTA and the National Education Association support the “ 10-minute homework guideline ”—a nightly 10 minutes of homework per grade level. But many teachers and parents are quick to point out that what matters is the quality of the homework assigned and how well it meets students’ needs, not the amount of time spent on it.
The guideline doesn’t account for students who may need to spend more—or less—time on assignments. In class, teachers can make adjustments to support struggling students, but at home, an assignment that takes one student 30 minutes to complete may take another twice as much time—often for reasons beyond their control. And homework can widen the achievement gap, putting students from low-income households and students with learning disabilities at a disadvantage.
However, the 10-minute guideline is useful in setting a limit: When kids spend too much time on homework, there are real consequences to consider.
Small Benefits for Elementary Students
As young children begin school, the focus should be on cultivating a love of learning, and assigning too much homework can undermine that goal. And young students often don’t have the study skills to benefit fully from homework, so it may be a poor use of time (Cooper, 1989 ; Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). A more effective activity may be nightly reading, especially if parents are involved. The benefits of reading are clear: If students aren’t proficient readers by the end of third grade, they’re less likely to succeed academically and graduate from high school (Fiester, 2013 ).
For second-grade teacher Jacqueline Fiorentino, the minor benefits of homework did not outweigh the potential drawback of turning young children against school at an early age, so she experimented with dropping mandatory homework. “Something surprising happened: They started doing more work at home,” Fiorentino writes . “This inspiring group of 8-year-olds used their newfound free time to explore subjects and topics of interest to them.” She encouraged her students to read at home and offered optional homework to extend classroom lessons and help them review material.
Moderate Benefits for Middle School Students
As students mature and develop the study skills necessary to delve deeply into a topic—and to retain what they learn—they also benefit more from homework. Nightly assignments can help prepare them for scholarly work, and research shows that homework can have moderate benefits for middle school students (Cooper et al., 2006 ). Recent research also shows that online math homework, which can be designed to adapt to students’ levels of understanding, can significantly boost test scores (Roschelle et al., 2016 ).
There are risks to assigning too much, however: A 2015 study found that when middle school students were assigned more than 90 to 100 minutes of daily homework, their math and science test scores began to decline (Fernández-Alonso, Suárez-Álvarez, & Muñiz, 2015 ). Crossing that upper limit can drain student motivation and focus. The researchers recommend that “homework should present a certain level of challenge or difficulty, without being so challenging that it discourages effort.” Teachers should avoid low-effort, repetitive assignments, and assign homework “with the aim of instilling work habits and promoting autonomous, self-directed learning.”
In other words, it’s the quality of homework that matters, not the quantity. Brian Sztabnik, a veteran middle and high school English teacher, suggests that teachers take a step back and ask themselves these five questions :
- How long will it take to complete?
- Have all learners been considered?
- Will an assignment encourage future success?
- Will an assignment place material in a context the classroom cannot?
- Does an assignment offer support when a teacher is not there?
More Benefits for High School Students, but Risks as Well
By the time they reach high school, students should be well on their way to becoming independent learners, so homework does provide a boost to learning at this age, as long as it isn’t overwhelming (Cooper et al., 2006 ; Marzano & Pickering, 2007 ). When students spend too much time on homework—more than two hours each night—it takes up valuable time to rest and spend time with family and friends. A 2013 study found that high school students can experience serious mental and physical health problems, from higher stress levels to sleep deprivation, when assigned too much homework (Galloway, Conner, & Pope, 2013 ).
Homework in high school should always relate to the lesson and be doable without any assistance, and feedback should be clear and explicit.
Teachers should also keep in mind that not all students have equal opportunities to finish their homework at home, so incomplete homework may not be a true reflection of their learning—it may be more a result of issues they face outside of school. They may be hindered by issues such as lack of a quiet space at home, resources such as a computer or broadband connectivity, or parental support (OECD, 2014 ). In such cases, giving low homework scores may be unfair.
Since the quantities of time discussed here are totals, teachers in middle and high school should be aware of how much homework other teachers are assigning. It may seem reasonable to assign 30 minutes of daily homework, but across six subjects, that’s three hours—far above a reasonable amount even for a high school senior. Psychologist Maurice Elias sees this as a common mistake: Individual teachers create homework policies that in aggregate can overwhelm students. He suggests that teachers work together to develop a school-wide homework policy and make it a key topic of back-to-school night and the first parent-teacher conferences of the school year.
Parents Play a Key Role
Homework can be a powerful tool to help parents become more involved in their child’s learning (Walker et al., 2004 ). It can provide insights into a child’s strengths and interests, and can also encourage conversations about a child’s life at school. If a parent has positive attitudes toward homework, their children are more likely to share those same values, promoting academic success.
But it’s also possible for parents to be overbearing, putting too much emphasis on test scores or grades, which can be disruptive for children (Madjar, Shklar, & Moshe, 2015 ). Parents should avoid being overly intrusive or controlling—students report feeling less motivated to learn when they don’t have enough space and autonomy to do their homework (Orkin, May, & Wolf, 2017 ; Patall, Cooper, & Robinson, 2008 ; Silinskas & Kikas, 2017 ). So while homework can encourage parents to be more involved with their kids, it’s important to not make it a source of conflict.
Because differences are our greatest strength
Homework challenges and strategies
By Amanda Morin
Expert reviewed by Jim Rein, MA
At a glance
Kids can struggle with homework for lots of reasons.
Homework challenges include things like rushing through assignments and trouble with time management.
Once you understand a homework challenge, it’s easier to find solutions.
Most kids struggle with homework from time to time. But some kids struggle more than others. Understanding the challenges kids face can help you defuse homework battles before they start.
Here are some common homework challenges, along with homework strategies and tips to help.
The challenge: Rushing through homework
All kids rush through homework sometimes. They may want to get it over with so they can do something more fun. But for some kids, rushing can be an ongoing challenge.
From finding the work boring to simply being fatigued after a long day at school, there are many reasons kids may rush through homework . And that can lead to messy or incorrect homework. Sometimes, rushing can even cause kids to miss parts of assignments.
How you can help: Some kids rush because they don’t like doing repetitive work. For these kids, you may want to try mixing things up.
Teacher tip: Switch the order of homework .
Try having kids approach the material in a different way. If vocabulary words are a challenge, try using them in everyday conversation. You can also use household items to illustrate math problems in a fun way.
There are other ways to help, too. Get tips for helping grade-schoolers , middle-schoolers , or high-schoolers slow down on assignments.
The challenge: Taking notes
Note-taking isn’t an easy skill for kids to master. Some kids struggle with writing and organization . For others, it may be hard to read text and take notes at the same time.
How you can help: There are several note-taking apps kids can use. It can also help to teach note-taking strategies . For example, there are specific note-taking techniques for kids with slow processing speed .
Watch this video to see three powerful note-taking strategies in action.
The challenge: Managing time and staying organized
Some kids struggle with keeping track of or budgeting their time. They may also struggle to break down a big project into smaller chunks , or make a plan for getting all their schoolwork done.
How you can help: There are a couple of simple ways you can help with organization and time management.
Create a homework schedule. A homework schedule can help kids set a specific time and place for studying. Find a time of day when they concentrate best and when you’re available to help. Choose a time when neither of you are in a hurry to get somewhere else. Also think about creating a designated homework space or homework station . Once you have a set time and place, show kids how to “chunk” homework with breaks in between.
Use checklists. There’s something very rewarding about crossing a task off a checklist. Kids can learn how good that feels by using a checklist to keep track of schoolwork. All they need is a small pad of paper to list daily assignments on. As each one is completed, they can cross it off the list.
How to color-code school supplies
Create a color-coding system . Using colored dot stickers, highlighters, and colored folders and notebooks is a great (and inexpensive) way to keep organized.
Use a homework timer. A timer can help keep homework on track and give kids a better sense of time. There are many types of timers to choose from. For instance, if a child is distracted by sounds, a ticking kitchen timer may not be the ideal choice. Instead, try an hourglass timer or one that vibrates. There are also homework timer apps you can program for each subject. (Don’t forget that your phone probably has a built-in timer, too.)
The challenge: Studying effectively
Developing good study skills can be a challenge. Most kids need to be taught how to study effectively, or they may spin their wheels without getting much done.
How you can help: Kids need to find out what works best for them based on how they learn . You can start early by working on good study habits in grade school .
As kids gets older, learning study strategies can reduce stress about school and improve grades. Keep in mind that in middle school and high school, kids have to study more. You’ll have to decide how much (or how little) to supervise or be involved with homework .
Explore more tips for helping teens develop good study habits .
The challenge: Recalling information
Some kids study for hours but still have trouble retaining information. When it comes time for the test, it may seem like they haven’t done their homework.
These challenges can be caused by trouble with something called working memory . But it can also be an issue of inattention — they aren’t able to tune out the unimportant stuff. Read an in-depth expert explanation about why some kids can’t remember what they’ve studied .
How you can help: Make sure kids study in a medium that’s a good fit. For example, some kids have a hard time processing and understanding verbal or written information. They may be better at remembering visual information, like maps or graphs.
That’s why it can help to present information in a way that engages multiple senses . Discover multisensory techniques to try at home. You can also explore working memory boosters and “muscle memory” exercises .
The challenge: Learning independently
It’s important for kids to know how to ask for help when they need it. But they also need to learn how to become independent learners. Eventually, kids will have to do homework without your help.
How you can help: Help kids set realistic goals and encourage “thinking out loud.” Try using a homework contract . And learn more ways to help grade-schoolers and tweens and teens be more independent learners.
Helping kids work through homework challenges can be tricky. But in the end, it helps them be more independent and confident students.
Sometimes, though, homework challenges don’t go away, despite your best efforts. In this case, consider asking for help. Look for signs kids may have too much homework , and learn how to talk with teachers about concerns . You can also learn about different tutoring options .
Eventually, kids have to learn how to do homework on their own.
Try tailoring homework strategies to kids’ specific challenges and strengths.
If homework continues to be a challenge, look for signs there's too much or talk with the teacher.
About the author
Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days.
Jim Rein, MA has lectured on postsecondary options and summer programs for kids and young adults with learning and thinking differences.
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How to Do Homework
Last Updated: September 24, 2023 References
This article was co-authored by Ronitte Libedinsky, MS . Ronitte Libedinsky is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Brighter Minds SF, a San Francisco, California based company that provides one-on-one and small group tutoring. Specializing in tutoring mathematics (pre-algebra, algebra I/II, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus) and science (chemistry, biology), Ronitte has over 10 years of experience tutoring to middle school, high school, and college students. She also tutors in SSAT, Terra Nova, HSPT, SAT, and ACT test prep. Ronitte holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Chemistry from Tel Aviv University. There are 11 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 945,820 times.
Even though your parents probably complain about how hard it was in their day, students nowadays have more homework than ever before, even when just starting their first year at middle school. That homework doesn't need to be a struggle now. Learning to plan out an efficient schedule for completing your homework, working on it effectively, and knowing when to get help with difficult assignments can help take the stress out of studying. Don't put it off any longer. See Step 1 for more information.
Working on Homework
Once you go into your space and start working, try not to leave until you've got a break scheduled. If you want a quick snack or drink, get it now before you start. Hit the bathroom and make sure you'll be able to work for the amount of time before your next break, uninterrupted.
- It's common that students will try to multi-task, watching TV or listening to the radio or continuing to chat on Facebook or Instagram while also trying to do homework. It'll be so much more fun to do those things after you're already done with your homework, though, and your homework will take half as much time if you're focused on doing nothing but your homework.
- Check your phone or your social networking sites during your study break, but not before. Use these distractions as a carrot, not as a pacifier.
If one assignment proves challenging and time-consuming, it's okay to switch for a while to something else. Just make sure to save enough time to circle back and give it another shot.
- Try to figure out what works best for you. Some students might like to start their homework immediately after school to get it done as quickly as possible, while it may be better to give yourself an hour to relax before starting in on it and decompress from the long school day. Don't wait for the last minute.
- While it may seem like a better idea to work straight through and finish, it's possible that the quality of the work you're doing will start to suffer if you don't give your mind a rest. It's difficult to think hard for more than 45 minutes at a time on a particular subject. Give yourself a rest and come back refreshed.
- The first fifteen minutes after a break are your most effective minutes, because your mind will be cleared, and ready to work hard. Give yourself a pep talk and dive back in, refreshed and ready.
- If you have trouble staying focused, get a parent, sibling, or friend to help keep you honest. Give them your phone while you're working to avoid the temptation to check it, or give them the video game controller so you won't be able to plug in for a few minutes of alien-hunting when you're supposed to be doing your homework. Then, when you're finished, show them the finished product and earn back your fun. Make it impossible to cheat.
- You can make yourself take enough time by having your gate-keeper (the person with your phone or video game controller) check over your homework for quality when you're done. If you know you're not going to get it anyway unless it's done right, you won't have any reason to rush. Slow down and do it right.
Planning Your Homework
- It's common to quickly write out the math problems you're supposed to do at the top of your notes, or scribble down the page number of the English reading on a textbook page, but try to recopy this information into a specific homework list so you will be sure to remember to do it.
- Write down as many details as you can about each assignment. It's good to include the due date, corresponding textbook pages, and additional instructions from your teacher. This will help you plan your night of homework more effectively. Also, it's a good idea to write about your homework in a planner.
- Homework doesn't have to wait until you get home. Look through an assignment as soon as it's been given, so you'll have the time to ask your teacher any questions you might have before you leave school for the day.
- At home , a desk in your bedroom might be the best place. You can shut the door and tune out any distractions. For some students, though, this is a good way to get distracted. You might have video games, computers, guitars, and all sorts of other distractions in your bedroom. It might be a better idea to sit at the kitchen table, or in the living room, where your parents can call you out for procrastinating. You'll get it done more quickly without the temptation of distraction.
- In public , the library is a great place to study and do homework. At all libraries, it's a rule that you have to be quiet, and you won't have any of the distractions of home. The school library will often stay open after school ends, making it a good option for finishing up homework before heading home, or your school may even have an after-school study spot specifically for the purpose.  X Research source
- Try to switch it up . Studying in the same place too often can make work more difficult. Some studies have shown that a change in environment can make your mind more active, since it's processing new information. You'll be able to vary your routine and remember what you learned more effectively.
- Try starting with the most difficult homework . Do you really hate the idea of getting into the algebra homework? Does reading for English take the longest? Start with the most challenging homework to give yourself the most time to complete it, then move on to the easier tasks you can complete more quickly.
- Try starting with the most pressing homework . If you've got 20 math problems to do for tomorrow, and 20 pages to read in a novel for Friday, it's probably better to start with the math homework to make sure you'll have enough time to complete it. Make homework due the next day the priority.
- Try starting with the most important homework . Your math homework might be difficult, but if it's only worth a few completion points, it might be less important to spend a lot of time on it than the big project for Social Studies that's due in two days. Devote the most time to the most valuable assignments.
- Set an alarm or a timer to keep yourself honest. The less time you spend procrastinating and checking your text messages, the more quickly you'll be done. If you think you can finish everything in a half hour, set a timer and work efficiently to finish in that amount of time. If you don't quite finish, give yourself a few extra minutes. Treat it like a drill.
- Keep track of how long you usually spend on particular assignments on average. If your math homework typically takes you 45 minutes to finish, save that much time each night. If you start plugging away for an hour, give yourself a break and work on something else to avoid tiring out.
- Schedule 10 minutes of break time for every 50 minutes of work time. It's important to take study breaks and give your mind a rest, or you'll work less effectively. You're not a robot!
Finding Extra Time
- Do you really need an hour of TV or computer after school to decompress? It might be easier to just dive into your homework and get it done while the skills are still fresh in your mind. Waiting a couple hours means you'll have to review your notes and try to get back to the same place you already were. Do it while it's fresh.
- If you've got three days to read an assignment, don't wait until the last evening to do it all. Space it out and give yourself more time to finish. Just because you've got a due date that's a long time away doesn't mean it wouldn't be easier to finish now. Stay ahead of the game. Try either waking up earlier or going to bed later. But don't get too tired!
- If you've got to read a bunch of stuff for homework, read on the bus. Pop in some headphones to white noise that'll drown out the shouting of other students and tune into your book.
- The bus can be distracting, or it can be a great resource. Since it's full of your classmates, try to get other students to work with you and get things done more quickly. Work together on the math problems and try to figure out things together. It's not cheating if everyone's doing the work and no one's just copying. Also, you might make some new friends while you're at it!
- Don't rely on this time to finish homework just before it's due. Rushing to finish your last few problems in the five minutes before you need to turn it in looks bad in front of the teacher, plus it doesn't give you any time to review your homework after you finish it. Rushing is a good way to make mistakes. And always check difficult problems you had trouble with.
- Work on your homework while you're waiting for a ride, while you're killing time at your brother's soccer game, or while you're waiting for your friend to come over. Take advantage of any extra time you have in the day.
Getting Homework Help
- Asking for help with your homework isn't a sign that you're bad at the subject or that you're "stupid." Every teacher on the planet will respect a student that takes their homework seriously enough to ask for help. Especially ask if you weren't there that day!
- Asking for help isn't the same thing as complaining about the difficulty of homework or making excuses. Spending ten minutes doing half your math problems and leaving most of them blank because they were hard and then telling your teacher you need help isn't going to win you any favors on the due date. If it's hard, see your teacher ahead of time and find the time to get help.
- If there's not an organized homework help group at your school, there are many private tutoring organizations that work both for-pay and non-profits. Sylvan Learning Center and other businesses have after-school hours that you can schedule appointments at to get help studying and completing your homework, while community centers like the YMCA, or even public libraries will often have homework help hours in your area.
- Getting help doesn't mean that you're bad at your homework. All variety of students visit tutoring centers for extra help, just to make sure they have enough time and motivation to get everything done. It's hard being a student! There's no shame in extra help. Imagine being afraid to ask for anything! You wouldn't be able to ask in restaurants, shops, anywhere!
- Make sure that your group study sessions don't cross the line into cheating. Dividing up an assigned so your friend does half and you copy each other's answers is considered cheating, but discussing a problem and coming up with a solution together isn't. As long as you each do the work separately, you shouldn't have any problems.
- Some parents don't necessarily know how to help with your homework and might end up doing too much. Try to keep yourself honest. Asking for help doesn't mean asking your parent to do your work for you.
- Likewise, some older relatives have outdated ways of completing specific tasks and might suggest forcefully that something you learned in class is wrong. Always use your teacher's approach as the correct approach, and discuss these alternative ways of completing an assignment with your teacher if necessary.
- If you missed school that day, then you should call a friend to get the notes and/or homework from that day. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Make sure your little study space is well lit, quiet, and comfortable. This will make it much easier to do your homework properly. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Take a piece of paper or wipe board and create a schedule for your homework. Be generous with the amount of time that you give for each task. If you end up finishing a task earlier than the schedule says, you will feel accomplished and will have extra time to complete the next task. It makes homework get done quicker than usual. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
- Never leave unfinished homework for the next day because you might have other homework to do and you will have to do both. Thanks Helpful 24 Not Helpful 0
- If you forget your homework, your teacher might not accept late work or may even give you more homework. Thanks Helpful 7 Not Helpful 1
Things You'll Need
- Writing equipment, such as pencils, rulers, and erasers.
- Resources that may help you work faster.
- A comfy place to sit while doing homework.
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.warnerpacific.edu/5-tips-for-dealing-with-too-much-homework/
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mental-wealth/201206/10-tips-make-homework-time-less-painful
- ↑ Ronitte Libedinsky, MS. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 26 May 2020.
- ↑ https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/plan-for-college/college-prep/stay-motivated/take-control-of-homework
- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/homework.html
- ↑ https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/understanding-assignments/
- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
- ↑ http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/homework.html#a_Create_a_Homework_Plan
- ↑ https://tutorial.math.lamar.edu/Extras/StudyMath/Homework.aspx
- ↑ https://learningcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/studying-101-study-smarter-not-harder/
- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/homework-help.html
About This Article
If you need to do homework, find a quiet, comfortable spot where you won’t be distracted. Turn off any electronics, like your TV, phone, or radio, and gather all of the supplies you’ll need before you get started. Work on the most important or hardest assignments first to get them out of the way, and if you have a homework assignment that actually seems fun, save it for last to motivate you to finish your other work faster. Keep reading to learn how to find extra time to get your homework done, like working on it on the way home from school! Did this summary help you? Yes No
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Are You Down With or Done With Homework?
- Posted January 17, 2012
- By Lory Hough
The debate over how much schoolwork students should be doing at home has flared again, with one side saying it's too much, the other side saying in our competitive world, it's just not enough.
It was a move that doesn't happen very often in American public schools: The principal got rid of homework.
This past September, Stephanie Brant, principal of Gaithersburg Elementary School in Gaithersburg, Md., decided that instead of teachers sending kids home with math worksheets and spelling flash cards, students would instead go home and read. Every day for 30 minutes, more if they had time or the inclination, with parents or on their own.
"I knew this would be a big shift for my community," she says. But she also strongly believed it was a necessary one. Twenty-first-century learners, especially those in elementary school, need to think critically and understand their own learning — not spend night after night doing rote homework drills.
Brant's move may not be common, but she isn't alone in her questioning. The value of doing schoolwork at home has gone in and out of fashion in the United States among educators, policymakers, the media, and, more recently, parents. As far back as the late 1800s, with the rise of the Progressive Era, doctors such as Joseph Mayer Rice began pushing for a limit on what he called "mechanical homework," saying it caused childhood nervous conditions and eyestrain. Around that time, the then-influential Ladies Home Journal began publishing a series of anti-homework articles, stating that five hours of brain work a day was "the most we should ask of our children," and that homework was an intrusion on family life. In response, states like California passed laws abolishing homework for students under a certain age.
But, as is often the case with education, the tide eventually turned. After the Russians launched the Sputnik satellite in 1957, a space race emerged, and, writes Brian Gill in the journal Theory Into Practice, "The homework problem was reconceived as part of a national crisis; the U.S. was losing the Cold War because Russian children were smarter." Many earlier laws limiting homework were abolished, and the longterm trend toward less homework came to an end.
The debate re-emerged a decade later when parents of the late '60s and '70s argued that children should be free to play and explore — similar anti-homework wellness arguments echoed nearly a century earlier. By the early-1980s, however, the pendulum swung again with the publication of A Nation at Risk , which blamed poor education for a "rising tide of mediocrity." Students needed to work harder, the report said, and one way to do this was more homework.
For the most part, this pro-homework sentiment is still going strong today, in part because of mandatory testing and continued economic concerns about the nation's competitiveness. Many believe that today's students are falling behind their peers in places like Korea and Finland and are paying more attention to Angry Birds than to ancient Babylonia.
But there are also a growing number of Stephanie Brants out there, educators and parents who believe that students are stressed and missing out on valuable family time. Students, they say, particularly younger students who have seen a rise in the amount of take-home work and already put in a six- to nine-hour "work" day, need less, not more homework.
Who is right? Are students not working hard enough or is homework not working for them? Here's where the story gets a little tricky: It depends on whom you ask and what research you're looking at. As Cathy Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework , points out, "Homework has generated enough research so that a study can be found to support almost any position, as long as conflicting studies are ignored." Alfie Kohn, author of The Homework Myth and a strong believer in eliminating all homework, writes that, "The fact that there isn't anything close to unanimity among experts belies the widespread assumption that homework helps." At best, he says, homework shows only an association, not a causal relationship, with academic achievement. In other words, it's hard to tease out how homework is really affecting test scores and grades. Did one teacher give better homework than another? Was one teacher more effective in the classroom? Do certain students test better or just try harder?
"It is difficult to separate where the effect of classroom teaching ends," Vatterott writes, "and the effect of homework begins."
Putting research aside, however, much of the current debate over homework is focused less on how homework affects academic achievement and more on time. Parents in particular have been saying that the amount of time children spend in school, especially with afterschool programs, combined with the amount of homework given — as early as kindergarten — is leaving students with little time to run around, eat dinner with their families, or even get enough sleep.
Certainly, for some parents, homework is a way to stay connected to their children's learning. But for others, homework creates a tug-of-war between parents and children, says Liz Goodenough, M.A.T.'71, creator of a documentary called Where Do the Children Play?
"Ideally homework should be about taking something home, spending a few curious and interesting moments in which children might engage with parents, and then getting that project back to school — an organizational triumph," she says. "A nag-free activity could engage family time: Ask a parent about his or her own childhood. Interview siblings."
Instead, as the authors of The Case Against Homework write, "Homework overload is turning many of us into the types of parents we never wanted to be: nags, bribers, and taskmasters."
Leslie Butchko saw it happen a few years ago when her son started sixth grade in the Santa Monica-Malibu (Calif.) United School District. She remembers him getting two to four hours of homework a night, plus weekend and vacation projects. He was overwhelmed and struggled to finish assignments, especially on nights when he also had an extracurricular activity.
"Ultimately, we felt compelled to have Bobby quit karate — he's a black belt — to allow more time for homework," she says. And then, with all of their attention focused on Bobby's homework, she and her husband started sending their youngest to his room so that Bobby could focus. "One day, my younger son gave us 15-minute coupons as a present for us to use to send him to play in the back room. … It was then that we realized there had to be something wrong with the amount of homework we were facing."
Butchko joined forces with another mother who was having similar struggles and ultimately helped get the homework policy in her district changed, limiting homework on weekends and holidays, setting time guidelines for daily homework, and broadening the definition of homework to include projects and studying for tests. As she told the school board at one meeting when the policy was first being discussed, "In closing, I just want to say that I had more free time at Harvard Law School than my son has in middle school, and that is not in the best interests of our children."
One barrier that Butchko had to overcome initially was convincing many teachers and parents that more homework doesn't necessarily equal rigor.
"Most of the parents that were against the homework policy felt that students need a large quantity of homework to prepare them for the rigorous AP classes in high school and to get them into Harvard," she says.
Stephanie Conklin, Ed.M.'06, sees this at Another Course to College, the Boston pilot school where she teaches math. "When a student is not completing [his or her] homework, parents usually are frustrated by this and agree with me that homework is an important part of their child's learning," she says.
As Timothy Jarman, Ed.M.'10, a ninth-grade English teacher at Eugene Ashley High School in Wilmington, N.C., says, "Parents think it is strange when their children are not assigned a substantial amount of homework."
That's because, writes Vatterott, in her chapter, "The Cult(ure) of Homework," the concept of homework "has become so engrained in U.S. culture that the word homework is part of the common vernacular."
These days, nightly homework is a given in American schools, writes Kohn.
"Homework isn't limited to those occasions when it seems appropriate and important. Most teachers and administrators aren't saying, 'It may be useful to do this particular project at home,'" he writes. "Rather, the point of departure seems to be, 'We've decided ahead of time that children will have to do something every night (or several times a week). … This commitment to the idea of homework in the abstract is accepted by the overwhelming majority of schools — public and private, elementary and secondary."
Brant had to confront this when she cut homework at Gaithersburg Elementary.
"A lot of my parents have this idea that homework is part of life. This is what I had to do when I was young," she says, and so, too, will our kids. "So I had to shift their thinking." She did this slowly, first by asking her teachers last year to really think about what they were sending home. And this year, in addition to forming a parent advisory group around the issue, she also holds events to answer questions.
Still, not everyone is convinced that homework as a given is a bad thing. "Any pursuit of excellence, be it in sports, the arts, or academics, requires hard work. That our culture finds it okay for kids to spend hours a day in a sport but not equal time on academics is part of the problem," wrote one pro-homework parent on the blog for the documentary Race to Nowhere , which looks at the stress American students are under. "Homework has always been an issue for parents and children. It is now and it was 20 years ago. I think when people decide to have children that it is their responsibility to educate them," wrote another.
And part of educating them, some believe, is helping them develop skills they will eventually need in adulthood. "Homework can help students develop study skills that will be of value even after they leave school," reads a publication on the U.S. Department of Education website called Homework Tips for Parents. "It can teach them that learning takes place anywhere, not just in the classroom. … It can foster positive character traits such as independence and responsibility. Homework can teach children how to manage time."
Annie Brown, Ed.M.'01, feels this is particularly critical at less affluent schools like the ones she has worked at in Boston, Cambridge, Mass., and Los Angeles as a literacy coach.
"It feels important that my students do homework because they will ultimately be competing for college placement and jobs with students who have done homework and have developed a work ethic," she says. "Also it will get them ready for independently taking responsibility for their learning, which will need to happen for them to go to college."
The problem with this thinking, writes Vatterott, is that homework becomes a way to practice being a worker.
"Which begs the question," she writes. "Is our job as educators to produce learners or workers?"
Slate magazine editor Emily Bazelon, in a piece about homework, says this makes no sense for younger kids.
"Why should we think that practicing homework in first grade will make you better at doing it in middle school?" she writes. "Doesn't the opposite seem equally plausible: that it's counterproductive to ask children to sit down and work at night before they're developmentally ready because you'll just make them tired and cross?"
Kohn writes in the American School Board Journal that this "premature exposure" to practices like homework (and sit-and-listen lessons and tests) "are clearly a bad match for younger children and of questionable value at any age." He calls it BGUTI: Better Get Used to It. "The logic here is that we have to prepare you for the bad things that are going to be done to you later … by doing them to you now."
According to a recent University of Michigan study, daily homework for six- to eight-year-olds increased on average from about 8 minutes in 1981 to 22 minutes in 2003. A review of research by Duke University Professor Harris Cooper found that for elementary school students, "the average correlation between time spent on homework and achievement … hovered around zero."
So should homework be eliminated? Of course not, say many Ed School graduates who are teaching. Not only would students not have time for essays and long projects, but also teachers would not be able to get all students to grade level or to cover critical material, says Brett Pangburn, Ed.M.'06, a sixth-grade English teacher at Excel Academy Charter School in Boston. Still, he says, homework has to be relevant.
"Kids need to practice the skills being taught in class, especially where, like the kids I teach at Excel, they are behind and need to catch up," he says. "Our results at Excel have demonstrated that kids can catch up and view themselves as in control of their academic futures, but this requires hard work, and homework is a part of it."
Ed School Professor Howard Gardner basically agrees.
"America and Americans lurch between too little homework in many of our schools to an excess of homework in our most competitive environments — Li'l Abner vs. Tiger Mother," he says. "Neither approach makes sense. Homework should build on what happens in class, consolidating skills and helping students to answer new questions."
So how can schools come to a happy medium, a way that allows teachers to cover everything they need while not overwhelming students? Conklin says she often gives online math assignments that act as labs and students have two or three days to complete them, including some in-class time. Students at Pangburn's school have a 50-minute silent period during regular school hours where homework can be started, and where teachers pull individual or small groups of students aside for tutoring, often on that night's homework. Afterschool homework clubs can help.
Some schools and districts have adapted time limits rather than nix homework completely, with the 10-minute per grade rule being the standard — 10 minutes a night for first-graders, 30 minutes for third-graders, and so on. (This remedy, however, is often met with mixed results since not all students work at the same pace.) Other schools offer an extended day that allows teachers to cover more material in school, in turn requiring fewer take-home assignments. And for others, like Stephanie Brant's elementary school in Maryland, more reading with a few targeted project assignments has been the answer.
"The routine of reading is so much more important than the routine of homework," she says. "Let's have kids reflect. You can still have the routine and you can still have your workspace, but now it's for reading. I often say to parents, if we can put a man on the moon, we can put a man or woman on Mars and that person is now a second-grader. We don't know what skills that person will need. At the end of the day, we have to feel confident that we're giving them something they can use on Mars."
Read a January 2014 update.
Homework Policy Still Going Strong
The magazine of the Harvard Graduate School of Education
Commencement Marshal Sarah Fiarman: The Principal of the Matter
A Field Guide to Gifted Students
Lessons Learned: Zid Mancenido, Ph.D.'22
clock This article was published more than 3 years ago
Does homework work when kids are learning all day at home?
The value of homework has long been debated in the education world — but now, the discussion has become even more complicated in the era of the coronavirus pandemic.
Researchers have long found that there is less to homework than many might think; they have found that it has little to no effect on test scores in elementary school and a marginal positive effect in the later grades. That was when kids were in school for classes and went home to do homework.
But now, school for millions of students means working at home doing school work all day, because school buildings are closed to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus and its disease, covid-19. That raises the question: How feasible is it to ask kids to do even more work in the same environment, especially for kids who live in environments not conducive to studying?
The closing of schools this past spring as the pandemic hit put a new focus on issues of equity, racism and access to education technology and the Internet. Now that many, if not most, school districts are not holding in-person teaching for the start of the 2020-21 school year, or not for all students, those issues are ever more urgent.
ASCD, an education organization of more than 110,000 members — superintendents, teachers and others from countries around the world — looked at the homework issue in its newsletter, ASCD Express. Below is one of the pieces in the package.
(ASCD, founded as the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, now focuses not just on curriculum but also on other parts of the educational process, including professional development, leadership and capacity building.)
The post below was written by Denise Pope, a co-founder of Challenge Success and a senior lecturer at the Stanford University Graduate School of Education, where she specializes in student engagement, curriculum studies, qualitative research methods and service learning.
(Challenge Success is a nonprofit organization that works with teams of educators, parents and students at schools to identify problems and implement best practices and policies in areas such as curriculum, assessment, homework, school schedule, and a healthy school climate.)
Pope is the author of “ Doing School: How We Are Creating a Generation of Stressed-Out, Materialistic, and Miseducated Students ,” and co-author of “ Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids .”
Pope’s article was originally published in the Aug. 27 issue of ASCD Express that focused on whether and how homework works today. ASCD Express is a free email publication for K-12 educators. I am using the article with permission.
Why this superintendent banned homework -- and asked kids to read instead
By Denise Pope
For students and educators participating in distance learning these days, it may be hard to distinguish homework assignments from any kind of school-assigned work that is done at home.
In fact, between March and June 2020, “homework” varied considerably: Some schools assigned weekly packets of work to be completed at home in lieu of any online lessons, while other schools decided to eliminate “homework” altogether for students who participated in online lessons for several hours each day. Though we conducted the following research on homework prior to the pandemic, our findings offer implications for all kinds of assignments done at home — both during remote learning and once students return to classrooms.
In a student survey conducted over the last decade (from 2009 to 2020) by Challenge Success , a nonprofit that I co-founded based on my research at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education, we asked over 200,000 middle and high school students from high-performing schools, “Right now in your life, what, if anything, causes you the most stress?”
One of the most common responses was one word: “Homework.”
The cultural narrative about homework generally focuses on how much homework students are doing. It's treated as a Goldilocks problem: When is it too little? When is it too much? When is it just right?
Having too much homework is certainly part of the problem when it comes to student stress levels. In fact, of the more than 50,000 high school students that Challenge Success surveyed from October 2018 to January 2020, 56 percent of students said they had too much homework . In that same sample, students reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight and 3.0 hours on weekends.
However, the amount of homework alone doesn't tell the whole story. The type of homework students receive can also be a source of stress, our survey shows. For instance, when students perceive homework to be boring or repetitive, or if they feel it is too advanced or confusing, they are likely to be stressed, regardless of the amount of assigned work. In addition, students are often stressed about how well they do on their homework, particularly because homework completion and quality are usually factored into students' course grades.
Given the stress from homework that so many students report, we updated our previous homework white paper with an extensive review of the current literature on homework and its benefits. Based on this review, we found that the relationship between time spent on homework and academic achievement is nuanced and complex.
In elementary school, there is very little, if any, evidence that time spent on homework in most subject areas has a positive effect on achievement. (A notable exception is reading for pleasure, which is associated with achievement. One 2013 study found that the influence of reading for pleasure is powerful for children’s cognitive development , especially in terms of vocabulary.)
In middle and high school, there is a slight positive relationship between time spent on homework and grades and test scores in the recent research. However, those benefits are complicated by various factors and limitations, including whether the homework was interesting to the students, how much effort they put into it, and the level of difficulty and purpose of the assignment. Furthermore, several studies found diminishing returns on the value of homework once a student exceeds a certain amount of time spent on it.
To make homework work for students and educators, we recommend taking a close look at the quality and purpose of the assignments by asking five questions. These questions apply whether learning is happening primarily at school, at home, or a hybrid of the two.
- Do students understand the purpose and value of the assignment? When students perceive homework as busy work, meaningless, or of little value to the teacher, they are less likely to complete it and may become less interested in learning and in school in general. Educators can increase engagement by clarifying the purpose of the work and allowing students to choose which problems to do or which topics to research. Teachers can also allow students to stop when they believe they understand the concept.
- Will all students be able to do the task independently? It is challenging to design homework assignments that meet every child’s academic and developmental needs, but students are more likely to disengage when an assignment feels either too hard or too easy. Teachers can use a variety of formative assessment strategies, such as student check-ins and daily exit tickets to strive for the “just-right” challenge for each student and ensure that homework can be done without help from parents or tutors — especially because not all students have the resources to get outside help.
- Is this assignment better done in class versus as homework? Some activities can't be done effectively or efficiently in class or during synchronous online learning, such as reading a book chapter to prepare for class discussion or interviewing a community member for an oral history project. These tasks might be better to assign as homework or during asynchronous learning. Skill practice, such as learning when and how to apply algorithms in math or parsing difficult text passages, might be more effective during class, where teachers can clarify misunderstandings and provide feedback and coaching.
- How much time should this assignment take? If you are going to assign homework, consider how much time the assignment should take and recommend an appropriate cut-off time for students without penalty. Suggested time limits should be based on the purpose of the assignment as well as student age and ability. Having students start the assignment in class or during synchronous learning will help you estimate how long it may take different students to do and if they need help. Remember that students may have homework from several classes each night, so try to coordinate large assignments and assessments with other teachers when possible and offer lenient late policies or “homework passes” when workload or home obligations are heavy.
- What kind of feedback should I provide on the homework? Grading homework is tricky. Some students who don't turn it in or do it incorrectly may have organizational issues or other reasons beyond their control, and others may have relied on outside help to correct the work. If you do choose to grade the homework, make sure you provide actionable and timely feedback on assignments and offer students opportunities to revise and resubmit. Aim to return graded assignments prior to an upcoming assessment so students can learn from their mistakes, and make sure your comments are specific enough for students to make corrections. For example, instead of just marking something as incorrect, add a comment asking a student to show their work, or explain that they need to add more supporting evidence to a paragraph to strengthen their claim.
As educators consider the changes they need to make to their curriculum and pedagogy this fall, particularly how to make up for lost learning over the spring and summer and how to prioritize essential skills and understandings, the questions above can help streamline assignments, increase student engagement, and alleviate some of the stress that so many students are experiencing right now.
To further explore the research mentioned above and to see more tips for designing effective homework, [teachers] can download the Challenge Success homework white paper.
Cooper, H. (1989). Synthesis of research on homework. Educational Leadership , 47 (3), 85–91.
Cooper, H. (2007). The battle over homework: Common ground for administrators, teachers, and parents . Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin Press.
Sullivan, A. & Brown, M. (2013). Social inequalities in cognitive scores at age 16: The role of reading . Centre for Longitudinal Studies. Retrieved from https://cls.ucl.ac.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/CLS-WP-2013-10.pdf
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8 tips to create a work or study at-home schedule.
Any employee or student who works or does school remotely from home knows that it’s not a picnic! It takes skill to figure out how to focus and create a great work zone inside your home. When you are meeting the demands of freelance clients, employers, mentors, and family, it can be difficult to meet all the tasks required of you. It’s easy to get sidetracked or distracted by your kitchen, TV, family, and the comforts of your own space when you’re working or studying at home. Whether you work-from-home full-time or part-time as an employee, do freelance work, or do virtual online school, work-from-home jobs and opportunities are abounding. As work-from-home jobs and virtual schooling becomes more popular, employees and students need to be prepared for how focus on their tasks and take advantage of the opportunity.
For most people, creating a schedule the night before will help them know what they need to do the next day. When you do virtual study or have a work-from-home job, your schedule may include household chores, lunch, time with family, appointments, as well as your work or studies. At the end of the day, look forward to tomorrow and see what things you need to prepare for. Then you can base your schedule around that. It’s smart to have a semi-regular routine for the days of the week so you can better know what to expect.
Creating a schedule is crucial to being productive and efficient when doing work-at-home or study-at-home tasks. Without a schedule it’s easy for your days to fly by and you’ve accomplished very little or nothing at all! As a worker or student, your employer, clients, or school has expectations for what you can accomplish. These tips will help you create a perfect study or work at-home schedule that will help you set a flexible, efficient, and productive routine.
1. Don't let lazy mornings get you off track.
When you’re working or doing schoolwork at home, it’s very tempting to sleep in and waste your morning away. But research shows that workers and students tend to be our most productive in the morning. When you’re working or studying full-time or part-time at home, it’s important to take advantage of those early focus hours. You don’t have to start your day at the crack of dawn, but avoid sleeping in too late or lazing around, scrolling social media in the morning, wasting important time. Set a specific hour when you want to get out of bed each morning and set your alarm clock. Even though your commute is just to your desk in the next room, an early hour start to your day could lead to extremely high productivity.
For many people, the start of the day isn’t the best time for school or work tasks. You may have other responsibilities that take precedence during that time. That’s ok! It’s still smart to get out of bed and get a great start to the day, so when it is time to buckle down for school or work, you’ve gotten other things accomplished and you feel great about your productivity. Take the opportunity to get a head start on the day, no matter what work you're doing in that time. Your employer, clients, or professors will notice!
The hour and the way you start your day are both very important. It’s smart to create a schedule for your workday that gives you some time for breakfast and maybe even working out. This can be a great way to get your energy up and get excited for the day ahead. Because you don’t have to commute into school or work, you can utilize that time to do a quick workout, go for a run, and make a healthy breakfast. This will do wonders for your day and can help you get in a focused zone for your work. Allow time in the morning for breakfast, and really work to build exercise time into your schedule at some point during the day.
Another easy thing to do is allow remote study or work-from-home jobs to mean you spend the day in your PJs. But when you just roll out of bed and try to start working, it can set the tone for your day, but not in a good way. A great morning and work day routine involves getting ready for the day. Taking a shower, doing your hair, putting on work clothes, and really preparing for a productive day can do wonders for your efficiency. You would probably get up and get ready if you were going into the office or into class, and you should treat online studying or work-from-home jobs with that same attitude. Build time into your schedule to allow you to get ready so you can really set a positive, productive tone for your workday.
2. Set routines you can stick to.
If you work or do education remotely, you may also have responsibilities to clean, cook, shop, care for children, and more. It’s valuable skill to be able to create routines for those responsibilities that you can revolve your full-time or part-time work and study around. If you know which day of the week you have appointments, you can know when to avoid scheduling meetings or tests. Keeping these consistent week-over-week will also help you, your family, and maybe your employer understand what to expect from you, when. For example, if you know you’ll do grocery shopping on Monday morning, you can get it out of the way and plan out meetings, projects, and work hours around that task. If you know you have to pick up children at a certain time, you can let your boss know that you won’t be online for that hour or so. If your family knows that the hour after dinner is your work time, they can be prepared to do their own thing during that time. These kinds of routines can help you set expectations and create habits that will work for your schooling and work.
3. Plan your days and weeks.
An important part of creating a schedule is to sit down and actually lay it out, not try and wing it. Once during the end of the week, sit down and look at the next week’s schedule and tasks. You can take that opportunity to remind yourself about upcoming meetings, appointments, deadlines, and more. Then you’ll know how to prioritize each of the days of that week. At the end of your work day, look toward tomorrow to see what tasks you need to accomplish and create your schedule to prepared for what’s ahead. When you wake up in the morning, you don’t have to waste any time trying to figure out what the day holds, you’ll already be ready!
4. Create a to-do list.
When you lay out your schedule for the day or the week, create a to-do list of the things you’d like to accomplish. Undoubtedly things will crop up during any employee's workday, but when you have laid out some things that you want or need to accomplish, it can help guide your schedule. A to-do list is a great, accessible reminder of what needs to come next. You can prioritize your to-do list so you’re able to get the most important or timely things done, and you always have something next that you can work on when you have spare time. You can also jump between projects if something is getting tedious, and give your mind a break and a chance to latch onto something new.
5. Plan time for breaks.
When laying out your schedule, it’s important to set aside time for some breaks. Plan time for meals, time with your family, and time for yourself as part of your workday. If you were in the office or in class, you’d have some time to chat with fellow employees or friends, go to lunch, etc. It’s important to plan those kinds of activities into your online schooling or work. These breaks are vital for your morale and motivation, and can be used like a reward to help you get going on a project or assignment. A 10 or 15 minute break every hour or two can help you feel rejuvenated and ready to take on the day.
6. Remove distractions.
When you create a schedule, you’ll eliminate dead time during the day that could be used for distracting, non-meaningful things. It’s OK to plan some time to scroll through social media or watch TV, but creating a schedule will help you avoid having the whole day turn to distractions. Creating a schedule will also help you reduce distractions from your responsibilities, family, or friends. If you can let your friends and family know when you’ll be doing work, they can help keep distractions to a minimum while you’re busy. A spouse, kids, and friends can all work to help you stay on your schedule and remove your distractions when you’re working. You can also create a work space that is distraction free to help you.
7. Communicate your schedule to family, fellow employees, and bosses.
Communication is the key to any great schedule. If you work or go to school at home, it’s important to talk to your teachers, advisors, colleagues, and family all about your schedule. When you have open communication, you're more likely to meet the expectations of everyone around you. When you tell your fellow employee or boss what your schedule will look like, they’ll know when to plan on you for meetings and projects. When you tell your professor or mentor about your other responsibilities, they’ll be able to help you create a schedule that will work for your needs. And when you tell your family when you need to get work done or have meetings, they will know how to avoid distracting you and when to expect your attention back. Communication is crucial for everyone getting what they need.
8. Be prepared to be flexible.
While it’s great to create a schedule and have a plan, it’s important to know that plans change! You need to be ready for flexibility and expect the unexpected! Your workday could suddenly be turned upside down by a surprise meeting or a fire to put out. Your schooling could be interrupted by other family needs that take precedence. This is life! That means that flexibility is key to your success. When you work or do schooling at home, create a schedule and understand that some days you just won’t get everything done, that the schedule will fall apart. That’s OK!
When you work or do school at home, your schedule can be your best friend. It can help lead you to more productive and efficient days and weeks. Research shows that you can be even more effective when working from home, and creating a schedule is a key way to help you be more effective as you work.
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Should Kids Get Homework?
Homework gives elementary students a way to practice concepts, but too much can be harmful, experts say.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful. (Getty Images)
How much homework students should get has long been a source of debate among parents and educators. In recent years, some districts have even implemented no-homework policies, as students juggle sports, music and other activities after school.
Parents of elementary school students, in particular, have argued that after-school hours should be spent with family or playing outside rather than completing assignments. And there is little research to show that homework improves academic achievement for elementary students.
But some experts say there's value in homework, even for younger students. When done well, it can help students practice core concepts and develop study habits and time management skills. The key to effective homework, they say, is keeping assignments related to classroom learning, and tailoring the amount by age: Many experts suggest no homework for kindergartners, and little to none in first and second grade.
Value of Homework
Homework provides a chance to solidify what is being taught in the classroom that day, week or unit. Practice matters, says Janine Bempechat, clinical professor at Boston University 's Wheelock College of Education & Human Development.
"There really is no other domain of human ability where anybody would say you don't need to practice," she adds. "We have children practicing piano and we have children going to sports practice several days a week after school. You name the domain of ability and practice is in there."
Homework is also the place where schools and families most frequently intersect.
"The children are bringing things from the school into the home," says Paula S. Fass, professor emerita of history at the University of California—Berkeley and the author of "The End of American Childhood." "Before the pandemic, (homework) was the only real sense that parents had to what was going on in schools."
Harris Cooper, professor emeritus of psychology and neuroscience at Duke University and author of "The Battle Over Homework," examined more than 60 research studies on homework between 1987 and 2003 and found that — when designed properly — homework can lead to greater student success. Too much, however, is harmful. And homework has a greater positive effect on students in secondary school (grades 7-12) than those in elementary.
"Every child should be doing homework, but the amount and type that they're doing should be appropriate for their developmental level," he says. "For teachers, it's a balancing act. Doing away with homework completely is not in the best interest of children and families. But overburdening families with homework is also not in the child's or a family's best interest."
Negative Homework Assignments
Not all homework for elementary students involves completing a worksheet. Assignments can be fun, says Cooper, like having students visit educational locations, keep statistics on their favorite sports teams, read for pleasure or even help their parents grocery shop. The point is to show students that activities done outside of school can relate to subjects learned in the classroom.
But assignments that are just busy work, that force students to learn new concepts at home, or that are overly time-consuming can be counterproductive, experts say.
Homework that's just busy work.
Effective homework reinforces math, reading, writing or spelling skills, but in a way that's meaningful, experts say. Assignments that look more like busy work – projects or worksheets that don't require teacher feedback and aren't related to topics learned in the classroom – can be frustrating for students and create burdens for families.
"The mental health piece has definitely played a role here over the last couple of years during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the last thing we want to do is frustrate students with busy work or homework that makes no sense," says Dave Steckler, principal of Red Trail Elementary School in Mandan, North Dakota.
Homework on material that kids haven't learned yet.
With the pressure to cover all topics on standardized tests and limited time during the school day, some teachers assign homework that has not yet been taught in the classroom.
Not only does this create stress, but it also causes equity challenges. Some parents speak languages other than English or work several jobs, and they aren't able to help teach their children new concepts.
" It just becomes agony for both parents and the kids to get through this worksheet, and the goal becomes getting to the bottom of (the) worksheet with answers filled in without any understanding of what any of it matters for," says professor Susan R. Goldman, co-director of the Learning Sciences Research Institute at the University of Illinois—Chicago .
Homework that's overly time-consuming.
The standard homework guideline recommended by the National Parent Teacher Association and the National Education Association is the "10-minute rule" – 10 minutes of nightly homework per grade level. A fourth grader, for instance, would receive a total of 40 minutes of homework per night.
But this does not always happen, especially since not every student learns the same. A 2015 study published in the American Journal of Family Therapy found that primary school children actually received three times the recommended amount of homework — and that family stress increased along with the homework load.
Young children can only remain attentive for short periods, so large amounts of homework, especially lengthy projects, can negatively affect students' views on school. Some individual long-term projects – like having to build a replica city, for example – typically become an assignment for parents rather than students, Fass says.
"It's one thing to assign a project like that in which several kids are working on it together," she adds. "In (that) case, the kids do normally work on it. It's another to send it home to the families, where it becomes a burden and doesn't really accomplish very much."
Private vs. Public Schools
Do private schools assign more homework than public schools? There's little research on the issue, but experts say private school parents may be more accepting of homework, seeing it as a sign of academic rigor.
Of course, not all private schools are the same – some focus on college preparation and traditional academics, while others stress alternative approaches to education.
"I think in the academically oriented private schools, there's more support for homework from parents," says Gerald K. LeTendre, chair of educational administration at Pennsylvania State University—University Park . "I don't know if there's any research to show there's more homework, but it's less of a contentious issue."
How to Address Homework Overload
First, assess if the workload takes as long as it appears. Sometimes children may start working on a homework assignment, wander away and come back later, Cooper says.
"Parents don't see it, but they know that their child has started doing their homework four hours ago and still not done it," he adds. "They don't see that there are those four hours where their child was doing lots of other things. So the homework assignment itself actually is not four hours long. It's the way the child is approaching it."
But if homework is becoming stressful or workload is excessive, experts suggest parents first approach the teacher, followed by a school administrator.
"Many times, we can solve a lot of issues by having conversations," Steckler says, including by "sitting down, talking about the amount of homework, and what's appropriate and not appropriate."
Study Tips for High School Students
Tags: K-12 education , students , elementary school , children
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How many hours a day do students spend on homework?
High schoolers reported doing an average of 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight , according to a study by the Washington Post from 2018 to 2020 of over 50,000 individuals.
Is 3 hours of homework too much?
How much time should high school students have to spend on homework each day.
We recommend that your child spend between 45 – 75 minutes per night. Once your child is in highschool, Grade 9 – 12 students usually receive four to five sets of homework per week. According to Figure 2, high school students should focus about 25-30 minutes on each subject .
How many hours a day should I spend on homework?
For high school students, they should aim for 90 minutes to two and a half hours per day . OECD data show 15-year-olds are assigned 6.1 hours of homework per week.
How many hours a day do college students do homework?
A typical semester would involve 5 different classes (each with 3 units), which means that a student would be doing an average of 45 hours of homework per week. That would equal to around 6 hours of homework a day, including weekends.
How Many Hours Should You Study Per Day?
Is 2 hours of homework too much?
Consequences for high school students That study, published in The Journal of Experimental Education, suggested that any more than two hours of homework per night is counterproductive . However, students who participated in the study reported doing slightly more than three hours of homework each night, on average.
How many hours do high school students spend doing homework?
Click here if unable to see above. (Photo courtesy of Unsplash) According to the Washington Post, a study conducted by Challenge Success from 2018 to 2020 concluded that on average, high schoolers did about 2.7 hours of homework per weeknight .
How Long Should homework take in 7th grade?
The most popular guideline for the right amount of homework is 10 minutes each night for each grade. Therefore, your first-grader should have 10 minutes of homework; it would be 30 minutes for the third-grader and 70 minutes for the seventh-grader.
How Long Should homework take in 9th grade?
Homework guidelines are 15 minutes for first grade and an additional 10 minutes for each grade after that, which would mean the recommended amount of homework for a ninth-grader is 95 minutes . Talking with her teachers also will let you know if she is having trouble with time management.
How Long Should homework take in 11th grade?
In the United States, the accepted guideline, which is supported by both the National Education Association and the National Parent Teacher Association, is the 10-minute rule: Children should have no more than 10 minutes of homework each day for each grade reached.
How long should 10 year old study?
8 years old: 16 to 24 minutes. 10 years old: 20 to 30 minutes . 12 years old: 24 to 36 minutes. 14 years old: 28 to 42 minutes.
How many students are stressed by homework?
According to the survey data, 56 percent of the students considered homework a primary source of stress. The remaining students viewed tests and the pressure to get good grades as the primary stressors. Notably, less than 1 percent of the students said homework was not a stressor.
How long should a child spend on homework?
The most widely accepted “rule of thumb” for homework is simple: A total of 10 minutes of homework per night per grade . That means, for example, that 3rd-grade students should not have more than 30 minutes of homework per night.
Is 10 hours of homework too much?
How much is too much? According to the National PTA and the National Education Association, students should only be doing about 10 minutes of homework per night per grade level . But teens are doing a lot more than that, according to a poll of high school students by the organization Statistic Brain.
Who invented homework?
Roberto Nevelis of Venice, Italy, is often credited with having invented homework in 1095—or 1905, depending on your sources.
How much HW is too much?
Based on research, the National Education Association recommends the 10-minute rule stating students should receive 10 minutes of homework per grade per night . But opponents to homework point out that for seniors that's still 2 hours of homework which can be a lot for students with conflicting obligations.
How much should a 7th grader study?
If a 7th class student studies for 2-3 hours daily with full concentration, then he or she will surely achieve success. Understanding the concept is also a defining factor. If you understand all the concepts well, then you can answer any question.
How Long Should homework take in 6th grade?
In first through third grade, students should receive one to three assignments per week, taking them no more than fifteen to twenty minutes. In fourth through sixth grade, students should receive two to four assignments per week, lasting between fifteen and forty-five minutes .
Why do teachers give so much homework?
It must be stressful to teachers because they are not sure if the students are really learning the material. They give out many assignments to make sure that kids are actually comprehending the material . Teachers want their students to be able to fully understand the topics they are learning.
How much time do middle school students spend on homework?
For students who study five days a week, that's 42 minutes a day per class, or 3.5 hours a day for a typical student taking five classes. Middle school teachers (grades 6-8) assigned roughly the same amount: 3.2 hours of homework a week, or 38.4 minutes a day per class.
How much should a 6th grader study?
Give at least 4-5 hours to your studies daily . In which atleast give 2 hours for practicing maths and rest of the time to your theoretical subject. After completing with 1 hour of study, take 5 to 10 minutes of break.
Why does homework make me cry?
Sometimes, homework upsets our children. Executive function deficits, learning disabilities, or difficult subjects can make children cry or lash out during homework time.
How many hours of homework does the average student have?
Less than 1% of students said homework was not a stressor. Con: The National Center for Education Statistics found that high school students get an average of 6.8 hours and elementary students get an average of 4.7 hours of homework each week.
How long do teachers spend grading homework?
On average teachers are at school an additional 90 minutes beyond the school day for mentoring, providing after-school help for students, attending staff meetings, and collaborating with peers. Teachers then spend another 95 minutes at home grading, preparing classroom activities, and doing other job-related tasks.
How much homework should YEAR 7 get?
About an hour to an hour and a half is usual in Years 7 and 8, rising to two to three hours in Years 10 and 11.
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Top 10 Homework Tips
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Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows kids that what they do is important.
Of course, helping with homework shouldn't mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!
Here are some tips to guide the way:
- Know the teachers — and what they're looking for. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
- Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure kids have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies — paper, pencils, glue, scissors — within reach.
- Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
- Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there's an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary — and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
- Make sure kids do their own work. They won't learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it's a kid's job to do the learning.
- Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
- Set a good example. Do your kids ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Kids are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
- Praise their work and efforts. Post an aced test or art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.
- If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Talk about it with your child's teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.
Is Homework Good for Kids? Here's What the Research Says
A s kids return to school, debate is heating up once again over how they should spend their time after they leave the classroom for the day.
The no-homework policy of a second-grade teacher in Texas went viral last week , earning praise from parents across the country who lament the heavy workload often assigned to young students. Brandy Young told parents she would not formally assign any homework this year, asking students instead to eat dinner with their families, play outside and go to bed early.
But the question of how much work children should be doing outside of school remains controversial, and plenty of parents take issue with no-homework policies, worried their kids are losing a potential academic advantage. Here’s what you need to know:
For decades, the homework standard has been a “10-minute rule,” which recommends a daily maximum of 10 minutes of homework per grade level. Second graders, for example, should do about 20 minutes of homework each night. High school seniors should complete about two hours of homework each night. The National PTA and the National Education Association both support that guideline.
But some schools have begun to give their youngest students a break. A Massachusetts elementary school has announced a no-homework pilot program for the coming school year, lengthening the school day by two hours to provide more in-class instruction. “We really want kids to go home at 4 o’clock, tired. We want their brain to be tired,” Kelly Elementary School Principal Jackie Glasheen said in an interview with a local TV station . “We want them to enjoy their families. We want them to go to soccer practice or football practice, and we want them to go to bed. And that’s it.”
A New York City public elementary school implemented a similar policy last year, eliminating traditional homework assignments in favor of family time. The change was quickly met with outrage from some parents, though it earned support from other education leaders.
New solutions and approaches to homework differ by community, and these local debates are complicated by the fact that even education experts disagree about what’s best for kids.
The most comprehensive research on homework to date comes from a 2006 meta-analysis by Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper, who found evidence of a positive correlation between homework and student achievement, meaning students who did homework performed better in school. The correlation was stronger for older students—in seventh through 12th grade—than for those in younger grades, for whom there was a weak relationship between homework and performance.
Cooper’s analysis focused on how homework impacts academic achievement—test scores, for example. His report noted that homework is also thought to improve study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills. On the other hand, some studies he examined showed that homework can cause physical and emotional fatigue, fuel negative attitudes about learning and limit leisure time for children. At the end of his analysis, Cooper recommended further study of such potential effects of homework.
Despite the weak correlation between homework and performance for young children, Cooper argues that a small amount of homework is useful for all students. Second-graders should not be doing two hours of homework each night, he said, but they also shouldn’t be doing no homework.
Not all education experts agree entirely with Cooper’s assessment.
Cathy Vatterott, an education professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, supports the “10-minute rule” as a maximum, but she thinks there is not sufficient proof that homework is helpful for students in elementary school.
“Correlation is not causation,” she said. “Does homework cause achievement, or do high achievers do more homework?”
Vatterott, the author of Rethinking Homework: Best Practices That Support Diverse Needs , thinks there should be more emphasis on improving the quality of homework tasks, and she supports efforts to eliminate homework for younger kids.
“I have no concerns about students not starting homework until fourth grade or fifth grade,” she said, noting that while the debate over homework will undoubtedly continue, she has noticed a trend toward limiting, if not eliminating, homework in elementary school.
The issue has been debated for decades. A TIME cover in 1999 read: “Too much homework! How it’s hurting our kids, and what parents should do about it.” The accompanying story noted that the launch of Sputnik in 1957 led to a push for better math and science education in the U.S. The ensuing pressure to be competitive on a global scale, plus the increasingly demanding college admissions process, fueled the practice of assigning homework.
“The complaints are cyclical, and we’re in the part of the cycle now where the concern is for too much,” Cooper said. “You can go back to the 1970s, when you’ll find there were concerns that there was too little, when we were concerned about our global competitiveness.”
Cooper acknowledged that some students really are bringing home too much homework, and their parents are right to be concerned.
“A good way to think about homework is the way you think about medications or dietary supplements,” he said. “If you take too little, they’ll have no effect. If you take too much, they can kill you. If you take the right amount, you’ll get better.”
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4 Tips for Completing Your Homework On Time
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Homework, a necessary evil according to many teachers, has a lot of students tied up in knots. Some students can never seem to get things turned in on time. In fact, many students do not even realize that they have homework until a friend from class texts them or they overhear someone in the halls talking about Ms. So-and-so's terrible, no-good, awful, horrifying worksheet for Chemistry that is due the next day. These five tips for completing your homework on time, however, should help you get that homework finished on time.
Tip 1: Rely On a Planning System
Most of you by now are well acquainted with a homework planner. It has the dates, the school subjects you are taking, and a whole lot of blank space to write down your homework assignments. Use these planners if you have them. Writing with an actual pencil or pen may seem almost archaic what with technology virtually doing everything for us, but the kinesthetic movement of writing down an assignment into one of those little squares (Language Arts test tomorrow - STUDY TONIGHT), will actually help solidify that homework in your brain.
Plus, when you are packing up to go home at the end of the school day, all you have to do is open up that planner to see which books, folders, and binders need to go home with you so you will not miss out anything that you need to do that evening.
Some people hate using planners. They'd rather walk on a pile of crushed glass than actually write something down in a planner. That's quite all right. One student kept a wadded up piece of paper in his pocket where he'd scrawl his assignments. It worked for him, so it was fine. For those of you not keen on planners or crumpled up notes, your phone can come in really handy. Just download a productivity app and type your assignments in there. Or, keep track of all the work due in the notes section of your phone. Or, snap a picture of the homework board in each teacher's class before you head out into the hallway. Or, if you are really dead-set against anything planner-related, then just send yourself a text after each class with your homework assignments for the night.
No matter which planning system you prefer, use it. Check off each item once you get it in your backpack. Your brain can only process so much information at a time, so you absolutely must write your homework down if you plan to complete it on time.
Tip 2: Prioritize Your Homework Assignments
All assignments are not created equal. It's strongly recommended you use a prioritizing system when you sit down at home with your homework. Try a system a little something like this:
- Examples: Studying for a major test coming up tomorrow. Finishing a major project due tomorrow. Writing an essay worth a LOT of points that is due tomorrow.
- Examples: Studying for a quiz coming up tomorrow. Completing a homework sheet that is due tomorrow. Reading a chapter that is due tomorrow.
- Examples: Studying for a spelling test that will occur on Friday. Writing a blog and posting it on the class board by Friday. Finish a book upon which you will take a quiz on Friday.
- Examples: Reviewing chapters for the midterm exam. Working on an on-going project, research paper, or long assignment due at the end of the quarter. Completing a packet that isn't due for two weeks.
Once you've prioritized the work you have to do, complete all the 1's first, then the 2's, moving down as you go. That way, if you find yourself pressed for time because Great-Grandma decided to stop over for family dinner and your mom insisted you spend the evening playing bridge with her despite the fact that you have hours of homework ahead of you, then you will not have missed anything vitally important to your grade.
Tip 3: Get the Worst Assignment Over With First
So, maybe you absolutely hate writing essays (But, why, though when all you have to do is follow these essay tips? ) and you have a major essay staring you in the face that must be completed before tomorrow. You also have to study for a major math test, complete a social studies blog by Friday, study for the ACT next month, and finish up your science worksheet from class. Your "1" assignments would be the essay and the math test. Your "2" assignment is the science worksheet, the "3" assignment is that blog, and the "4" assignment is studying for the ACT.
Ordinarily, you would start with the science worksheet because you love science, but that would be a big mistake. Start with those "1" assignments and knock out that essay first. Why? Because you hate it. And completing the worst assignment first gets it off your mind, out of your homework cache, and makes everything that comes after it appears to be really, really easy. It will be an absolute joy to complete that science worksheet once you have written the essay. Why rob yourself of joy?
Then, once you've completed the stuff due first, you can focus on putting in a little bit of time on the ACT. Easy peasy.
Tip 4: Take Planned Breaks
Some people believe that sitting down to complete homework means that you literally park your behind in a chair and you don't move it for the next four thousand hours or so. That is one of the worst study ideas in history. Your brain only has the capacity to stay focused for about 45 minutes (maybe even less for some of you) before it goes on the fritz and starts wanting to make you get up and dance the Roger Rabbit. So, schedule your study time with breaks actually built in . Work for 45 minutes, then take a 10-minute break to do whatever it is people your age like to do. Then, rinse and repeat. It looks a little something like this:
- 45 minutes: Work on "1" assignments, starting with the absolute worst.
- 10 minutes: Get a snack, play Pokemon Go!, surf Instagram
- 45 minutes: Work on "1" assignments again. You know you didn't finish.
- 10 minutes: Do some jumping jacks, dance the Macarena, polish your nails.
- 45 minutes: Work on "2" assignments and maybe even finish with any 3s and 4s. Put everything in your backpack.
Completing your homework on time is a learned skill. It requires some discipline and not everyone is naturally disciplined. So, you have to practice checking that you have everything you need for homework when you are still at school, prioritizing your work, plunging into the assignments you loathe, and taking planned breaks. Isn't your grade worth it?
You bet it is.
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How Do Kids Spend the School Day? Recommended Times and Structure
Verywell / Sahara Borja
- Being With Parents
Being physically active.
- Enjoying Nature
How to fit it all in.
- Next in Back to School Planning Guide Calming First-Day of Kindergarten Anxiety
Today's kids are busier than ever, dividing their time between school, activities, tutoring , and family time. When they're not busy with scheduled activities, kids have to make time for homework, sleep, and personal care.
Is there a way to balance it all and still provide some structure? Sure; making room for the priorities just takes a little planning. Of course, when it comes to time management , flexibility is also important. There will be times when you need to make adjustments to meet your child's needs. See how your child's schedule compares to others when it comes to key daily activities.
It may seem like your children spend all of their time at school . According to the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES), students may spend anywhere from three to seven hours a day in school depending on their age and the state in which they live.
This figure does not include transportation time as well as before or after school activities. Consequently, the number of hours individual children spend at school can vary dramatically.
As for the number of school days in a school year, there is much less variation. According to the NCES, the number of school days in different states ranges from 160 days in Colorado to 180 days in Hawaii.
This means kids are not in school about 185 days or more a year, which includes weekends and breaks. On those days, kids have the opportunity to enjoy nature, spend time with family and friends, and exercise.
How much time each day should kids spend on homework ? A general rule among teachers is 10 minutes per grade level: 30 minutes per day for a third-grader, 50 minutes for a fifth-grader, and so on.
This rule has been around for decades, but gained legitimacy when a review by Harris Cooper of Duke University suggested that 10 minutes per grade level really is the best practice. This amount can vary dramatically between children, however.
Time needed for homework really depends on the school's homework policy, the teacher's philosophy, and the type of coursework your child is taking. High school students taking AP courses might spend more time on homework than a student in general education courses. Some educators don't assign homework unless they see a strong need for at-home practice.
Expect less homework in schools that have a strong hands-on emphasis. You can expect more homework in schools that focus on regular practice or have "flipped" classrooms, where kids cover new material at home and practice skills at school where they are supervised. Another time you can expect more homework is in advanced level classes, like those that offer dual credit to high school students.
To keep your student on task during the school year, try establishing a schedule or block of time when homework will be completed.
Allow your child to help decide when this will take place. Doing so gives them some sense of control over their day and will more likely lead to positive results when it comes to completing assignments.
Socializing With Others
Experts agree that school-age children need to have friends. Friends help children build social skills such as listening, sharing, and problem-solving . Children also learn how to handle their emotions through relationships with other children.
Research doesn't dictate any specific amount of time that is necessary for children to socialize with friends. The quality of the friendships and whether or not the child is generally happy with their social time are most important. Children or teens may have just a few friends or several friends.
If you feel that your child would benefit from having more or better quality friendships , start by suggesting that your child to get involved in clubs or activities where they can meet new friends. If your child seems a little shy or like they need practice meeting new peers, try coaching them on how to make friends.
Being With Parents or Caregivers
Don't stress about spending quality time with your kids. Research from a large-scale longitudinal study on the effects of time with parents compared to child and teen outcomes had some surprising results.
The biggest takeaway is that time spent with a parent who is stressed out and moody can decrease positive outcomes, while more time does not show a strong benefit. For this reason, it's important to be mindful of your family's moods.
It's also important not to put too much pressure on yourself when it comes to spending time as a family. The study, published in the Journal of Marriage and Family , found no relationship between the time a parent spent with their 3- to 11-year-olds and the child's academic achievement, behavior, and well-being. Teens do get into less trouble when they have six hours a week or more of positive, engaged time with parents.
That means that parents can and should take a big sigh of relief. These results suggest taking care of yourself first and not sacrificing or martyring yourself for the sake of your children is best. If you find yourself stressed out about money, you can return to work or work more hours without feeling guilty .
You also will be in a better position to spend time with your kids in the teen years when the benefits are much more tangible. Just try to enjoy your time together no matter what that looks like. It still stands to reason that your child will benefit from having some positive attention from you every day.
The amount of time a child needs to sleep varies according to their age. But every child, no matter their age, needs adequate sleep. Not getting enough sleep has been linked to falling asleep during school or missing school altogether.
What's more, kids who don't get enough sleep struggle to wake up in the mornings, and have trouble learning or doing school work. If you are concerned that your child is not getting enough sleep, learn what symptoms to watch for as well as what steps you can take to improve their sleep habits .
According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the recommended sleep times for school-age children are:
- 10–13 hours each night for 5-year-olds
- 9–12 hours each night for 6- to 12-year-olds
- At least 8 hours each night for kids 13 years old and older
Verywell / Nusha Ashjaee
Most experts recommend 20 to 30 minutes to eat a meal, and 10 to 15 minutes to eat a small snack. Keep in mind that even children's bodies need 20 minutes after eating before they begin to register feeling full.
To make sure your children have plenty of time to finish their food without feeling rushed and get adequate nutrition, emphasize the importance of family meals . This time not only provides your kids with the nutrition they need, but it also gives you valuable time together as a family.
What's more, regular family meals promote healthy eating and protect against childhood obesity . Make sure you are selecting healthy options for your family and that electronics are turned off and away from the table. Meal time also is a great time to catch up on what's going on in everyone's lives and to laugh together as a family.
Children should engage in 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity per day according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Not only does regular physical activity promote health and fitness, it also leads to lower body fat and stronger bones .
Physical activity—which should consist of aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening activities—also has a positive impact on a child's brain health. Studies have shown that exercise improves cognition and memory as well as enhances academic performance and reduces symptoms of depression.
When kids exercise daily, this also sets them up for good health in adulthood. It reduces the likelihood that they will experience heart disease, obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Plus, being physically active is a great stress reducer. It allows kids to take their minds off of stressful things and do something fun.
Enjoying Nature and the Outdoors
Many children spend much more time indoors than they did in previous generations. Various studies have linked this increase in indoor time to obesity and other health issues.
While it is important to note that some of these effects do not have enough research to say with certainty that indoor time is to blame, it makes sense that time spent outdoors and away from screens would be good for children and adults alike.
How much time outdoors should you aim for? The U.S. National Wildlife Federation suggests at least one hour a day. This nature advocacy group even includes this concept in its "Be Out There" campaign, calling it a "Green Hour." Likewise, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) also recommends 60 minutes of unstructured, free play (indoors or out) every day.
You can help your children get in their physical activity time and their time in nature by getting them outdoors. If you're short on ideas, try hiking on a local nature trail or tending a small container garden.
For years, the AAP had fairly strict recommendations limiting the use of any electronic devices to a few hours a day. However, in late 2016, new guidelines were announced that are much less stringent. The guidelines were created in response to how we are using media today.
This change came about because electronics and screen time have become a facet of almost every part of our lives. Children use tablets and computers at school. Cell phones with video messaging are used for daily communication. And internet use for homework is more likely to be required than optional. Then, after a child's required use of electronic media, there is still entertainment and free time to consider.
Overall, the recommendations indicate that electronic media use for entertainment should be limited to one or two hours a day. Parents should ensure that this entertainment is high quality, and create screen-free zones (like the family dinner table), so children and teens learn to function without their devices. Doing so not only allows them to relax and de-stress but it also gives them the space needed to be creative.
Of course, during the 2020-2021 school year, kids may have been online multiple hours a day just to get an education. Now that schools are being encouraged by the CDC to return to in-person learning, finding a balance between using electronics for school and for socializing and entertainment is important. You may even want to consider taking a few days to detox from technology as a family.
It can be a challenge to meet all of these recommendations. One way to manage is to combine one or more activities so you can get more done in less time.
For instance, time outdoors in nature, away from electronic devices, can be combined with exercise and even time with same-age friends. Meanwhile, the time a child or teen needs to be engaged with a parent can be met by eating dinner together. Thirty minutes each night totals more than six engaged hours. The only activity you can't mix with others is sleep.
The key to fitting in everything a child needs is to establish a daily plan or school year routine. Pre-planning or scheduling also can reduce parent stress, keeping the time you spend with your child positive.
A Word From Verywell
As you think about how to structure your child's typical school day, try not to be too rigid with your planning. With the exception of sleep, you can be flexible with how your kids are spending their time and tailor your routines to meet their specific needs.
The key is that they are getting appropriate rest, attending school, and doing their homework. Socializing, time with family, physical activity, electronic use, and family meal times can be adapted as the days unfold.
National Center for Education Statistics. Number of instructional days and hours in the school year, by state: 2018 .
American Psychological Association. Is homework a necessary evil ?
Cooper, H. The Battle Over Homework: Common Ground for Administrators, Teachers, and Parents . New York, Carrel Books, 2015.
Sakyi KS, Surkan PJ, Fombonne E, Chollet A, Melchior M. Childhood friendships and psychological difficulties in young adulthood: an 18-year follow-up study . Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry . 2015;24(7):815-26. doi:10.1007/s00787-014-0626-8
Siennick SE, Osgood DW. Hanging out with which friends? Friendship-level predictors of unstructured and unsupervised socializing in adolescence . J Res Adolesc . 2012;22(4):646-661. doi:10.1111/j.1532-7795.2012.00812.x
Milkie MA, Nomaguchi KM, Denny KE. Does the amount of time mothers spend with children or adolescents matter? . J Marriage Fam. 2015;77:355–372. doi:10.1111/jomf.12170
Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. How much sleep do I need? .
Cohen JF, Jahn JL, Richardson S, Cluggish SA, Parker E, Rimm EB. Amount of time to eat lunch is associated with children's selection and consumption of school meal entrée, fruits, vegetables, and milk . J Acad Nutr Diet . 2016;116(1):123-8. doi:10.1016/j.jand.2015.07.019
Dwyer L, Oh A, Patrick H, Hennessy E. Promoting family meals: a review of existing interventions and opportunities for future research . Adolesc Health Med Ther . 2015;6:115-31. doi:10.2147/AHMT.S37316
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity guidelines for school-aged children and adolescents .
Kemple KM, Oh J, Kenney E, Smith-Bonahue T. The power of outdoor play and play in natural environments . Childhood Education . 2016;92(6):446-454. doi:10.1080/00094056.2016.1251793
Childhood Pediatrics. Nature play: Prescription for healthier children .
Barnett TA, Kelly AS, Young DR, et al. Sedentary behaviors in today’s youth: approaches to the prevention and management of childhood obesity: A scientific statement from the American Heart Association . Circulation . 2018;138(11). doi:10.1161/CIR.0000000000000591
The National Wildlife Federation. Connecting kids and nature .
American Academy of Pediatrics. Energy out: daily physical activity recommendations .
Media and young minds . Pediatrics . 2016;138(5). doi:10.1542/peds.2016-2591
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Guidance for COVID-19 prevention in K-12 schools .
By Lisa Linnell-Olsen Lisa Linnell-Olsen has worked as a support staff educator, and is well-versed in issues of education policy and parenting issues.
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An Age-By-Age Guide to Helping Kids Manage Homework
Forget multiplication—you're really teaching executive functioning..
Do you ever wonder whether homework is gauging the child’s ability to complete assignments or the parent’s? On one end of the spectrum, a parent might never mention homework and assume it gets done independently; o n the other end are the parents who micromanage to be sure every worksheet is absolutely perfect.
Being too laissez faire about homework might deny a child the support they need to develop executive functioning skills, but being too involved could stifle their independence. So h ow much parent participation in homework is actually appropriate throughout a child’s education?
Basic homework tips
According to Scholastic , you should follow these rules of thumb to support your child during homework (without going overboard):
- Stay nearby and available for questions without getting right in the middle of homework.
- Avoid the urge to correct mistakes unless your child asks for help.
- Instead of nagging, set up a homework routine with a dedicated time and place.
- Teach time management for a larger project by helping them break it into chunks.
Child psychologist Dr. Emily W. King recently wrote about rethinking homework in her newsletter. King explains at what ages kids are typically able to do homework independently, but she writes that each child’s ability to concentrate at the end of the day and use executive functioning skills for completing tasks is very individual. I talked to her for more information on how much parental involvement in homework completion is needed, according to a child’s age and grade level.
K indergarten to second grade
Whether children even need homework this early is a hot debate. Little ones are still developing fine motor skills and their ability to sit still and pay attention at this age.
“If a child is given homework before their brain and body are able to sit and focus independently, then we are relying on the parent or other caregivers to sit with the child to help them focus,” King said. “ Think about when the child is able to sit and focus on non-academic tasks like dinner, art, or music lessons. This will help you tease out executive functioning skills from academic understanding.”
Elementary-age children need time for unstructured play and structured play like music, arts, and sports. They need outside time, free time, and quiet time, King said. For children who are not ready for independent work, nightly reading with another family member is enough “homework,” she said.
Third to fifth grades
Many children will be able to do homework independently in grades 3-5. Even then, their ability to focus and follow through may vary from day to day.
“Most children are ready for practicing independent work between third and fifth grade, but maybe not yet in the after-school hours when they are tired and want to rest or play. We need to begin exposing children to organization and structure independently in late elementary school to prepare them for more independence in middle school,” King said.
Neurodivergent kids may need more parental support for several years before they work independently.
“Neurodivergent children, many of whom have executive functioning weaknesses, are not ready to work independently in elementary school. Children without executive functioning weaknesses (e.g., the ability to remain seated and attend to a task independently) are able to do this somewhere between third and fifth grade, but it’s very possible they can work independently at school but be too tired to do it later in the afternoon,” King said. “We need to follow the child’s skills and give them practice to work independently when they seem ready. Of course, if a child wants to do extra work after school due to an interest, go for it. ”
For students who are not ready to work independently in middle school, it is better to reduce the amount of homework they are expected to complete so they can practice independence and feel successful.
In sixth grade and later, kids are really developing executive functioning skills like planning, organizing, paying attention, initiating, shifting focus, and execution. They will still need your encouragement to keep track of assignments, plan their time, and stick to a homework routine.
“Middle school students need lots of organization support and putting systems in place to help them keep track of assignments, due dates, and materials,” King said.
By this point, congratulations: Y ou can probably be pretty hands-off with homework. Remain open and available if your teen needs help negotiating a problem, but executing plans should be up to them now.
“In high school, parents are working to put themselves out of a job and begin stepping back as children take the lead on homework. Parents of high schoolers are ‘homework consultants,’” King said. “We are there to help solve problems, talk through what to say in an email to a teacher, but we are not writing the emails or talking to the teachers for our kids.”
What if homework is not working for them (or you)
There are a number of reasons a child might not be managing homework at the same level as their peers, including academic anxiety and learning disabilities.
If your child is showing emotional distress at homework time, it might be a sign that they have run out of gas from the structure, socialization, and stimulation they have already been through at school that day. One way to support kids is to teach them how to have a healthy balance of work and play time.
“When we ask students to keep working after school when their tank is on empty, we likely damage their love of learning and fill them with dread for tomorrow,” King wrote in her newsletter.
King said in her experience as a child psychologist, the amount of homework support a child needs is determined by their individual abilities and skills more than their age or grade level.
“All of these steps vary for a neurodivergent child and we are not following these guidelines by age or grade but rather by their level of skills development to become more independent,” she said. “In order to independently complete homework, a child must be able to have attended to the directions in class, brought the materials home, remember to get the materials out at home, remember to begin the task, understand the task, remain seated and attention long enough to complete the task, be able to complete the task, return the work to their backpack, and return the work to the teacher. If any of these skills are weak or the child is not able to do these independently, there will be a breakdown in the system of homework. You can see why young students and neurodivergent students would struggle with this process.”
If you and your child have trouble meeting homework expectations, talk to their teacher about what could be contributing to the problem and how to modify expectations for them.
“Get curious about your child’s skill level at that time of day,” King said. “ Are they able to work independently at school but not at home? Are they not able to work independently any time of day? Are they struggling with this concept at school, too? When are they successful?”
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How To Work And Homeschool At The Same Time- 5 Things You Need To Know
I am always amazed at the response I get when I tell people I work and homeschool at the same time.
It is the “looks” that really crack me up. Of course, I try very hard not to react but sometimes…well, it’s tough, and I’m no angel.
If I am chatting with a workmate or employer, it is usually a puzzled look followed by them looking at me like I keep my kids in my back pocket or something.
Other people launch right into the myth of “homeschool families are always home,” and yet here I am. So how can I work and homeschool my children?
That is a great question, let’s dig in.
Since I’ve worked outside the home and inside the home (most times doing both), I can understand the struggle to wrap your mind around the truth that you CAN work and homeschool.
Yes, You Can Work And Homeschool At The Same Time.
Homeschooling is a journey, and working out your personal “bugs” in the system takes time, effort, and coffee.
It can be done, but it isn’t easy. It takes determination to find a way to make things work—a drive to overcome stumbling blocks that may not have existed before in your life. Looking at things from an angle you didn’t think of before.
No, far from easy, but then again, what part of being a parent is always easy?
Let’s look at 5 things you are going to want to tackle.
1. Your Life Is Going To Change.
The first thing I did was royally screw up. I would suggest skipping this part but if you are like me it’s bound to happen.
What did I do that was so wrong? I thought nothing would change and all would remain the same in my life .
I mean, think about it. If you are going from being a stay-at-home homeschool mom to a working mom-change is bound to happen. If you are going from a working mom to a working homeschool mom-again, change. For some odd reason, this never crossed my mind!
This is the number one mistake almost every working homeschool mom makes.
Realize things are going to change. What was always working may not work anymore. What never worked before is the answer you were hunting for all of a sudden.
For us, it started with a breakdown in our homeschool. The curriculum we loved was no longer working. Tears, frustration, anxiety , and that was just me. I had been using a curriculum that I needed to be in the room to teach. Now I wasn’t there.
We switched to online homeschooling resources mixed with workbooks and textbooks. Magic! This worked amazingly for us. A whole new world opened up, and I began to see what our homeschool would look like.
2. You Will Need Help.
The next change was in our home. I am the “I’ll do it myself, thanks” kind of person. Don’t be me.
As I tried to work, homeschool, and do the cooking, shopping, cleaning, etc all on my own without help, it led to a super not fun period called Homeschool Burnout. Ladies…do yourself a favor and avoid this at all costs.
After a good chat with my husband and teens about teamwork, life got so much better . My husband grocery shops, my kids do chores and are learning to cook . My husband cooks on the weekends. We work together around the house on the yard work. This is a great way to spend time with your family and catch up.
You don’t have to do it all. Ask for help.
3. Acknowledge Your Own Fears.
When I first decided to tackle this job of balancing the two, I was overwhelmed and terrified.
Everyone kept telling me what I was attempting to do was impossible. The more doubt they expressed the more I began to believe them .
After all, they were putting “voice” to my deepest fears.
Looking back, I realize it was fear that paralyzed me and stopped me from moving forward .
Once I acknowledged that yes I was afraid and had no clue what I was doing, it was easier for me to “wing it”. This simple shift in my own personal view was so freeing.
All of a sudden, I realized I didn’t need to know the answers . Facing those fears gave me the courage to do what I needed to do.
For me, it was to make a plan to find balance.
This plan has taken many forms over the years, from curriculum plans, chore plans, work schedules, etc. It will continue to change and shift as our life changes. Having a plan makes me feel good . It is my thing.
If you don’t have a plan to help you stay organized, I recommend taking some time to create one. This framework will help you reduce the overwhelm and stress you feel.
4. Realize It Is Possible.
Don’t you hate being told something you want to do, you need to do, is impossible? Think of all the everyday products we use that are a result of someone doing the impossible.
My kids and I picked up this book called, Girls think of Everything . This book highlights inventions created by women. Some were accidents but most were things that we use every day that people said was “impossible” to create. Things like chocolate chips, windshield wipers, and white-out, just to name a few.
When I feel overwhelmed, I take a moment to look at things we use daily that, at one time not too long ago…were considered impossible.
You can do it.
5. Don’t Do It Alone.
I know how it feels to be alone on this journey. To be surrounded by others who don’t really get it.
When you are chatting with workmates, and they encourage you to put your kids in public school if you are having a bad day instead of realizing…bad homeschool days happen.
When homeschooling, friends tell you to quit work when you are coping with a rough workday instead of understanding that maybe you need your job.
It is why I started this site, actually . I felt so alone. I knew there had to be others out there doing this thing and doing it well. Turns out I was right.
I’ve had the privilege of interviewing many moms who are doing all kinds of amazing things while homeschooling, such as:
- Running their own businesses
- working outside the home
- teachers (in the public school system)
- creating online courses
Just to name a few. ( Read these interviews here )
You can find supportive working moms who homeschool online such as through Facebook Groups and forums. Or in your community. You may need to search a little harder but keep looking.
I have two online communities, specifically for working moms who homeschool.
- The Working Homeschool Mom Club by Jen Mackinnon on Facebook
- Working Homeschool Mom Coffee Club
They all juggle homeschooling and working. It can be done, you are not alone!
It can be hard to think positive when loved ones, friends, and family tell you it’s impossible. I am here to tell you it IS possible!
Remember, no one said it would be easy, but it is worth it!
What You Need To Do Next
One of the keys to working and homeschooling is to learn to fit all the parts of your new life into one schedule. I encourage you to read: How To Create Your Own Simple Schedule!
PLEASE PIN ME:
Hi, I’m Jen. I help working moms juggle their career and homeschool their kids by providing support, systems and tools. You are warmly invited to Join the Online Community Here!
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Stay at Home Mom Schedule (Infant to School Aged)
- 5 June 2022
- Rebecca Noori
- Motherhood , Productivity
What did you imagine a stay at home mom schedule would look like before you became a mom? Perhaps you thought you’d be meeting friends for lunch, have plenty of time to book hair and nail appointments, and hit yoga class a couple of times a week?
But when you bring your beautiful bundle of newborn joy home for the first time, you realize the earthshattering truth: grabbing a shower will be your only goal of the day.
It can be challenging to create a stay at home mom routine that works. But adding structure to your day will help you and your little one thrive. With practice, you’ll fit that shower into your day and accomplish a lot more too.
What should a stay at home mom do all day?
Stay at home moms come in all shapes and sizes. And how you spend your day as a mom primarily comes down to your child’s age. Need inspiration? The Moms On Call books will give you ideas on developing a structured routine for each stage of childhood.
A mom of a newborn may spend a lot of the day breastfeeding, changing diapers, doing laundry, and sterilizing bottles. There will be so many hours of the day where you’re physically holding or rocking your baby, and it’s tricky (but not impossible) to run errands or even take that shower with your hands full.
Moving forward a couple of years, a stay at home mom with a two-year-old may attend toddler groups to meet other parents or take the little one to pick up groceries. Your child may even attend daycare for a few hours at this age. This gives them a chance to socialize and some breathing space for you at home.
And by the time your kids are school age? Stay at home moms can spend the day running the house because, honestly, there are plenty of chores to do, and the school day is short! Some moms may also work a side hustle that fits family life and helps pay the bills.
Why are routines important for you and your kids?
Some people may scoff at the idea of a routine – doesn’t that sound dull and rigid? Shouldn’t raising kids include more fun and free-spirited activities? But actually, routines are important both for children and parents.
There’s comfort in providing a consistent structure for kids, so they know what to expect throughout the day. And having a set routine can lower stress and boost their immune system.
Routines are also the foundation for teaching healthy habits. When your little one knows to wash their hands after using the potty or brush their teeth after their bath, you’re helping them establish essential hygiene skills.
It’s easy to become overwhelmed as a parent, so routines aren’t just for little ones. Having a regular and consistent stay at home mom routine will make you feel more organized and in control of family life. Getting through daily tasks as quickly and efficiently as possible also frees up time to spend on more fun activities.
How to establish a stay at home mom routine
There are so many elements to consider when creating a daily schedule for a stay-at-home mom. The main areas you’ll cover relate to running your house, looking after your children, and prioritizing rest and mental health. It’s common for parents to neglect themselves, but happy moms make for happy kids, so don’t forget to add your own needs to your schedule.
Keeping a tidy house can be great for mental health. A Princeton University study found that a cluttered space makes it more challenging to focus on a task. What better motivation to tackle your household chores and enjoy spending time at home?
The main trick is to try and incorporate quick chores into your daily routine when your little ones are with you. If you wait until naptime or after they’ve gone to bed, the jobs can mount up and feel overwhelming. Instead, work simple habits into your day.
Try putting a load of washing in the machine before heading out to the park. Or folding laundry while they’re eating lunch next to you.
With a strategic stay at home mom schedule, you can get away with spending as little as an hour a day on housework.
Getting enough sleep is crucial to the mental and physical well-being of any stay at home mom. But we all know that babies and sleep don’t often go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re up all night with a newborn or have difficulty getting a toddler or older child to sleep at night, it can seem like there aren’t enough hours left to grab your own forty winks.
Most adults require seven to nine hours of sleep per night, but you might need even more if you’re pregnant. If you’re not getting enough hours, then symptoms of sleep deprivation can kick in. These might include constant yawning, difficulty concentrating, and slow reaction times.
Sleep deprivation may also exacerbate postpartum depression , impacting one in eight women following pregnancy. It can be difficult for doctors to distinguish between fatigue and postnatal depression, but they can be linked.
Even where postpartum recovery isn’t an issue, sleep is essential for a healthy mind and body. If you’re not getting enough shut-eye, work on establishing regular naptime/bath/book/bed routines for your child. The goal is to start bedtime at the same time every day and go through the same steps, so your child makes positive sleep associations.
Food and snacks
Food and sleep are inextricably linked in children. Young children may not eat if they’re too tired or may wake early if they’ve not eaten enough.
Establish set meal and snack times to help ensure your child’s tummy is full at all the right times. For babies and toddlers, this could mean giving them lunch by 11:30 AM so they’re ready for a nice long nap. The extra rest from their nap will give them enough energy to play happily from 2 PM until dinner when they’ll eat well again.
The slightest disruption to feeding schedules can impact sleep, throwing your entire day out of whack. So, it’s worth investing time in these areas.
Ok, so moms don’t need to stay at home every day. It’s a much better idea to get up and out every day for a change of scenery. Even if you manage a 20-minute walk with your stroller, getting out is good for you! Fresh air increases the amount of oxygen in your body, strengthening the immune system and helping you to fight illness more efficiently.
Build activity time into your daily stay at home mom routine. 10 AM is a popular time to meet friends in the park, go to a baby group, or run errands. Squeezing in a morning activity like this can set you up for the day. A baby or toddler will exert some energy and be ready for a lunchtime nap when they return.
A mid-afternoon trip is another excellent opportunity to get out before dinner. If you have a combination of small and older children, taking little ones with you to school pick-up works well.
Exercise and wellbeing
From finding time to work out to making space for mental health, it can be challenging to stay balanced when you have little people in tow. It’s not like you can just lace up your sneakers and head off for a run or take an hour out for a massage.
But there are ways to incorporate exercise into your stay at home mom schedule. Look for child-friendly exercise classes in your local area, or head out for an early morning run while your other half watches the kids. Alternatively, consider downloading an exercise app and working out in your garden or in front of the TV while your kids play.
Finding time for your relationship
Your stay at home mom routine can be pretty structured around chores and childraising, but don’t forget to factor in time to spend with your partner. Although you might be exhausted at the end of the day, consider some of the following ideas. Arrange a babysitter and go out for dinner together, or get the kids to bed early and watch a favorite movie together. Too tired to cook? How about ordering an occasional takeout and reconnect over delicious food?
If your partner is keener than you, ask them to help with some household chores, so you have more energy to dedicate to them.
Examples of a daily schedule for stay at home mom
Check out these examples of stay at home mom schedules for inspiration:
A stay at home mom schedule with school-age children
Rebecca has three children, aged 10, 6, and 2. This routine covers taking the older kids to school, picking them up mid-afternoon, completing homework with them, and going to after-school clubs. It also includes entertaining a toddler while the older siblings are out of the house.
6:45 AM – Alarm goes off (if kids haven’t woken first) for a quick shower before getting ready.
7:30 AM – Unload the dishwasher, get breakfast ready and help the children get dressed.
8:15 AM – Pack school bags, including homework and lunch.
8:30 AM – Head out to school to drop the older kids off.
8:45 – 9:30 AM – Return home and do some light housework while my 2-year-old plays. Put a load of washing on.
10 AM – 11:30 AM – Head out to play or run errands.
11:45 AM – Prepare a quick lunch at home
12 PM – Serve and eat lunch
12:30 PM – Tidy and wipe down the kitchen, dust, and vacuum downstairs. Sort laundry.
1 pm to 3 PM – uiet play with my toddler (some reading, puzzles, watching a Disney movie together). Previously, naptime was here!
3 PM – Head out to pick up the older kids from school
3:15 to 3:30 PM – Catch-up and snack-time with kids
3:30 PM to 4:30 PM – Homework with older kids
4:30 to 5 PM – Prepare dinner
5 to 5:30 PM – Eat dinner as a family
5:30 to 7:30 PM – Juggle clubs with my husband (swimming lessons, football training, drama club, karate, etc.)
5:30 to 6 PM – Clean kitchen and load the dishwasher.
6 PM – Bath, brush teeth, book, and bed for my 2-year-old.
7 PM – Bedtime for my 2 year old.
7:30 PM – Bedtime for my 6-year-old.
9 PM – Bedtime for my 10 year old.
9-10:30/11 PM – Relax with my husband.
A stay at home mom schedule with infant and toddler
Fo has two children, aged 2 and 2 months. This routine covers taking the toddler kids to daycare (most days) while staying at home with the newborn. This also includes managing a business.
5:15 – 5:20 AM – Alarm goes off to start morning success routine (declarations, prayer, journal, read Bible)
6:00 AM – Start breakfast (set aside breakfast for toddler)
6:30 AM – Eat breakfast while checking emails and doing quick business tasks, tidy living area
7:00 AM – Feed infant
7:15 AM – 7:30 AM – Toddler wakes up. Start morning routine (brush teeth, get dressed)
7:30 AM – Toddler eats breakfast. Refresh toddler’s hair while eating and tend to infant
8:00 AM – Take toddler to daycare (if going that day). Load laundry on the way out if necessary.
8:15 AM – Take infant for a walk/begin nap
8:30 – 10 AM – Nap time starting in stroller. Finish walk, shower, and work on business tasks, make phone calls, pay bills, etc. while infant naps
10:00 AM – Feed infant. Do business tasks on phone (ex. check email, social media, etc.)
10:20 – 11:30 AM – Tummy time, playing, complete small tasks around house
11:30 – 1:00 PM – Nap time, eat lunch, business items, listen to podcast or training for self education
1:00 PM – Feed infant
1:20 PM – 2:30 PM Tummy time, playing, complete small tasks around house
2:30 PM – 4:00 PM – Nap time, “Power Hour” cleaning/chore time
4:00 PM – Feed infant
4:30 PM – Pack afternoon snacks and tidy up for picking up toddler
5:00 PM – Pick up toddler
5:30 PM – Nap time for infant. Strategic screen time & afternoon snack for toddler
5:30 PM – 6:30 PM – Cook dinner (if not leftovers), tidy up kitchen while cooking, unload laundry & fold
6:30 PM – 6:45 PM – Chat with husband, tend to infant (typically fussy), toddler goes walking with husband
7:00 PM – Feed & bathe infant
7:15 PM – Toddler bath time (husband)
7:30 PM – Dinner time as family
7:30 PM – 8:15 PM – Family time
8:15 PM – Nighttime routine for toddler
8:30 PM – Bedtime for both kids
8:30 PM – 10:30 PM – Time with husband, reset kitchen, plan for next day, night time routine
1 0:30 PM – Bedtime
How do stay at home moms not go crazy?
Being a stay at home mom is incredibly rewarding, and you get to be there for every single one of those super cute milestones. But without a doubt, it can be tough to cram in all the tasks you need to accomplish each day.
Yes, you might feel like you’re going a little crazy at times! But that’s exactly why you need a realistic stay at home mom routine to keep you on track.
Remember to stay realistic about what you can possibly achieve in a day. We’re not in competition with ourselves, and there aren’t any prizes for burning out. Use your stay at home mom schedule to plan your day in advance, and you’ll feel on top of things. Include plenty of flexibility if your child has an off day, and above else, always know when to ask for help.
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Trump bets big on Michigan with rally on GOP debate night as UAW strike continues
President Trump skipped the first Republican debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wis. Win McNamee/Getty Images hide caption
President Trump skipped the first Republican debate on Aug. 23 in Milwaukee, Wis.
Seven Republicans will take the debate stage Wednesday for the second GOP presidential primary debate in California.
Former President Donald Trump, the undisputed front-runner, will not be one of them. He instead will skip the event and travel to Michigan where he plans to court the vote of autoworkers.
It's the second debate that Trump is missing, disappointing many Republican voters who have been eager to see how rivals stand up to Trump when they're side-by-side on the same stage.
But veteran Republican strategist Sean Walsh sees it as an opportunity for the other candidates and Republican voters who are looking for an alternative to Trump.
It takes some of the "game show" elements out of the evening, Walsh said.
It gives the other candidates more time to speak about their priorities instead of responding to Trump. This time around, though, unlike in Milwaukee for the first debate, those who seek to distinguish themselves from the former president are likely to face a more sympathetic audience.
How to watch the second GOP presidential debate
"I don't think we'll have the circus audience that we had at the last debate that Fox News held," Walsh predicted. "I think that Chris Christie was going to make some very important points concerning former President Trump and he was shouted down and did not have the opportunity to do that."
It was not just former New Jersey Gov. Christie who got shouted down, of course. Any candidate who spoke out against Trump was booed.
Walsh, who served in the administrations of both former Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said the debate on the grounds of Reagan's presidential library will also be opportunity for the candidates to "win back the hearts and minds of mainstream Republicans" — like him — who feel that Trump can't beat President Biden.
Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally on April 2, 2022, near Washington, Mich. Scott Olson/Getty Images hide caption
Former President Donald Trump arrives at a rally on April 2, 2022, near Washington, Mich.
Trump is instead going to Michigan where he'll speak with autoworkers — another sign that he's looking ahead to the general election and focusing on Biden.
It's also a sign of how important this group of voters — and this state — are to both campaigns in the looming general election.
Trump's visit comes just a day after Biden was in Michigan where he joined union autoworkers on the picket line.
Michigan voters helped both Trump and Biden win the White House — Trump in 2016 and Biden in 2020. Those elections were largely clinched with union voters. Biden won those voters by 20 points in 2020. Trump lost those voters overall, but by a much narrower margin, in 2016. He went on the win the state by just over 10,000 votes.
President Biden addresses striking members of the UAW on a picket line outside a GM plant in Belleville, Michigan, on September 26, 2023. JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images hide caption
President Biden addresses striking members of the UAW on a picket line outside a GM plant in Belleville, Michigan, on September 26, 2023.
On Tuesday, Biden spoke through a bullhorn on the picket line. He told workers that they had saved the auto industry during tough times.
The auto companies are now doing "incredibly well," he said, adding that workers should be doing the same.
"You deserve what you earned," Biden said. "And you've earned a hell of a lot more than you're getting paid now."
Biden likes to call himself the most pro-union president ever. Trump has a more complicated past with unions.
In recent weeks, the former president has argued that he's always worked for autoworkers — and will continue to fight for them if he wins a second term.
Tired of the Republican primary, GOP frontrunner Donald Trump shifts focus to Biden
In Michigan, he's expected to deliver a broader message. Trump will likely attack Biden's economic policies, particularly his focus on electric vehicles.
He's also expected to tell workers that he'd do better protecting the auto industry — and therefore their jobs, union or not.
"With Biden, it doesn't matter what hourly wages they get, in three years there will be no autoworker jobs as they will all come out of China and other countries," Trump said in a statement Tuesday, responding to Biden joining the picket line .
Trump's not expected to join a union picket line. But despite his mixed experience with union labor, he has had success courting blue collar workers away from Democrats.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who has served as an informal adviser to Trump, says that's an important distinction. While Biden may have the support of union leadership, he doesn't necessarily have the support of those on the assembly line.
"Trump will do better with working-class voters than Biden will. That's the great irony," Gingrich said. "The establishment is for the old order. So, the UAW leadership is for the old order. Their membership's probably going to vote for Trump."
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This Amazon deal drops the wireless Arlo Essential video doorbell down to just $80, and you can pick up the wired version for even less.
Video doorbells are already one of the easiest and most affordable ways to keep an eye on who's coming and going from your house. And, right now, you can pick up our overall favorite model of 2023 at a record-low price. Amazon currently has the wireless version of the Arlo Essential Video Doorbell on sale for the all-time low price of just $80, which saves you a whopping $120 compared to the usual price. If you want an even more affordable option, you can snag the wired version for just $69, but it will require some know-how to install. There's no set expiration for these deals, however, so we'd recommend you get your order in sooner rather than later if you don't want to miss out on these savings.
This video doorbell has a 180-degree field of view, so you can monitor your entire porch or yard, and with night vision and HDR support, it's easy to identify who's at your door even in low-light situations. Plus, it supports two-way audio so you can easily communicate with any guests or visitors, and has a built-in siren to ward off intruders. It's also designed to work seamlessly with other smart devices that are compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and more.
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A Frank Lloyd Wright Home in Milwaukee Lists for the First Time in Almost 70 Years
Designed by the famed architect, the house is hitting the market for $1.5 million.
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Maui residents get a close-up look at the burn scar where their homes once stood
LAHAINA, Hawaii — Lahaina resident Erwin Miyamoto squinted as he pointed to a clay-colored speck far in the distance, its light blue roof barely visible against the deep cerulean of the sky.
“See that building?” he said, standing on a hill above a Hawaii National Guard blockade near the burn zone. “That was my property.”
Its colorful wall and roof are all that remain of the apartment complex Miyamoto managed before an Aug. 8 wildfire tore through Lahaina, killing 97 people and displacing thousands more.
A second building managed by the company that employs Miyamoto also burned to the ground. Everyone who lived in both buildings survived, he said.
Miyamoto and other residents returned to Lahaina to look for their belongings and assess the damage in the days after the fire, before federal officials blocked roads and set up security checkpoints accessible only to authorized workers.
On Monday, an initial round of residents displaced by the vicious wildfire began the painful journey home, marking the first time they have been allowed inside the disaster zone to see their empty properties.
Cars trickled into a Hawaii National Guard security checkpoint, some carrying residents in head-to-toe protective gear, who were escorted onto their properties as volunteers stood by to help them safely sift through the wreckage.
“They are standing in front of a loved one and saying goodbye,” volunteer Todd Taylor said. “It’s very important for these homeowners to look through that ash and see what’s there.”
Leading up to Monday’s re-entry, some residents had expressed trepidation not only about what they would see and what feelings would arise, but also about the safety of the ground and air even after cleanup.
Others pored through weekly updates from county and federal officials who coordinated closely with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which is overseeing the cleanup of toxic or dangerous materials.
Miyamoto was not among those granted permits. The buildings he managed are deep within the disaster zone, and it will be weeks, if not months, before he is allowed to go back.
“It’s frustrating,” he said. “You want to have closure.”
Re-entry comes after nearly seven weeks of cleanup following the Lahaina wildfire. It was one of three fires that terrorized Maui that day and destroyed more than 2,000 buildings, most of them homes.
Darryl Oliveira, the interim administrator of the Maui Emergency Management Agency, said that the agency granted permits for 23 parcels Monday and that 16 families had entered by midday.
He said officials are trying to prevent potentially dangerous or toxic dust from dispersing and are asking families to tread lightly on the land.
Oliveira said he expects to “pick up the pace” of the operation and to announce the reopening of more zones by the end of the week, with the goal of completing Lahaina re-entries within one to two months, depending on how quickly the EPA can finish cleanup.
“People are taken aback by the extent of the destruction,” he said, adding that he saw one family pause in prayer before walking onto their property.
Lahaina residents return to their homes for the first time after wildfire
Miyamoto followed a similar ritual when he returned to the site of his apartment shortly after the fire, before federal officials blocked off large swaths of Lahaina.
He recalls taking a deep breath before he looked through the remnants of the home he shared with his wife, his adult daughter, two grandchildren and their mother, the ex-girlfriend of his adult son.
The son lived downstairs in a separate unit with his current girlfriend. The family liked it that way, Miyamoto said: “We were always under one roof.”
Miyamoto said that in finding his way around the ruins, he mapped the apartment’s layout in his mind, using a melted steel bed frame to locate the spot where his wife stored her jewelry in their bedroom.
He hoped to find her wedding ring, but he instead discovered clumps of gold he presumed to be the remnants of her valuables. The clumps, brass metal plates and a ceramic bowl given to his wife by her grandmother were the only items to survive, he said.
“I don’t know how the hell that thing made it,” Miyamoto said of the bowl.
His wife, Gabriella, has not returned to Lahaina since August, and she most likely never will, they both said. She wakes up shaking in the middle of the night from terrifying images that haunt her dreams when she tries to sleep.
Gabriella no longer plays music loudly or sings along to her favorite songs. Instead, she keeps a bag packed with her few surviving belongings nearby in case another fire comes to claim her.
At night, she replays her harrowing escape: the thick black smoke, the faces she saw as she tried to drive down the streets, the 2½ hours she waited in traffic praying she would make it to safety.
“My dreams consume me,” she said in a shaky voice. “I can’t live on Maui anymore.”
Gabriella plans to visit family in her native Mexico for a month or more while her husband tries to rebuild their life in Hawaii. He hopes to maybe buy a condo on Oahu, where Gabriella feels safe, and fly between there and Maui for work.
Miyamoto said he is impatient to secure a coveted permit from the county that will allow him to return to his apartment and retrieve the diamond from his wife’s wedding ring. If he finds it, they plan to have a new one forged.
Alicia Victoria Lozano is a California-based reporter for NBC News focusing on climate change, wildfires and the changing politics of drug laws.