Establishing Homework Routines
By Dr. Kenneth Shore
Your child will be more successful completing assignments if he develops an effective homework routine. Begin by helping him select an area of the house that is conducive to studying. Find a place that is quiet, well-lit and relatively free of family distractions. While the preferred place is his bedroom, he might also work effectively at the kitchen or dining room table. Wherever he works, make sure that there is sufficient writing space and that it is free of clutter. Clutter will make it difficult for him to work efficiently. Also help him find a place where he can store his materials.
Keep in mind that where your child does homework is not as important as how he is doing it. If he is completing assignments successfully and getting them in on time, don’t make an issue of where he is doing it. Make sure that he has the tools he needs for doing homework and studying. These might include pens and pencils, paper, index cards, a scissors, a stapler, a ruler, a dictionary and a thesaurus. An atlas, globe and encyclopedia will also come in handy. Some of these such as a dictionary, thesaurus, encyclopedia and atlas can be accessed through a computer.
After you and your child have determined where he will do his homework, the next question is when. You may find that doing homework after school works for your child. Or you may find that it conflicts with activities or that he needs a break. Suggest that he do his toughest assignments either in the afternoon or early evening, when he is most alert. Avoid having him do homework right before he goes to bed. You may find it takes longer than you expect, thus delaying his bedtime.
Also talk with your child about the issue of television, computer use and homework. Consider setting up a rule that homework must be completed before he can watch television or go on the computer for non-academic reasons during the evening. If you do, check to make sure he is not racing through his assignments so he does not miss his favorite programs. If so, you might offer to record them or you might designate a quiet time each evening when the TV is turned off (for both you and your child) and your child is to do homework. If he has finished his work, he can find other activities to do until the quiet period is over.