While the results of research surrounding homework often vary, experts agree on the benefits of establishing a designated learning space. Following are three steps to create an effective personal learning space for your child:
Step 1: Find a location
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 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, such as the dining room table.
Your child may prefer to work by herself, or may need parents nearby to help keep her on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Ask your child where he or she works best and come up with a mutually agreed upon location.
Step 2: Set up the space
Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a homework center. Make sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments: pencils, pens, lined paper, etc. If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), your child can keep supplies in a portable bin.
If possible, this area should include a bulletin board that can hold a monthly calendar of long-term assignments. Assignments that show exceptional improvement or performance can also be pinned up.
Step 3: Establish a daily homework schedule
If possible, 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 an “academic mode” after the school day.
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 children may become and the more slowly the homework gets done.
A homework planner, when regularly updated, may also serve to structure homework and avoid those late-night crunch sessions.
If you have any questions about homework best practices, please contact us!
*Adapted from www.nasponline.org