Homework Wars: 8 Essential Study Habits for Parents
Fall is in full force, and so is your teen’s workload.
Now it's time to show your child that stress does not have to be a natural part of studying. In fact, you can end the stress that you and your kids both face this time of year with our eight essential study habits:
1. Start a Routine.
The first thing you should do this school year is put a schedule in place. Teens work better when they have a routine, but it should also be the routine that is right for them.
2. Become a Time Management Guru.
Between academics, extracurriculars, college prep, and their social life, high school students have a ton of responsibilities to manage. A visual reminder of the “big picture” like an online or chalkboard calendar can help your kids balance their time. Make sure you pencil in homework time each school night to help your child see when she is truly free.
3. Take a Step Back .
It’s tempting to help a bit TOO much (especially if you happen to be an ace at algebra). It's fine to do one sample problem with your child to get them on the right track, but beware of “helping” with 3 of 4. Pretty soon you are the one doing the homework.
4. Loosen Up.
A routine doesn’t have to be monotonous. If your daughter is a visual learner, go online and find a great video that can help her. Or, if your child is studying and needs to memorize formulas for a test, help him write a goofy song. Infusing some fun into study time helps make kids more relaxed and ready to learn.
5. Big Assignment Looming? Start Small .
When your child gets to high school, long-term projects like research papers or essays are par for the course. It’s easy to procrastinate in October if the assignment isn’t due until November. Help your teen map out a plan for big assignments and complete a small piece every few weeks, such as visiting the library for research or drafting an outline. Even writing just a few sentences a night will keep their English essay on track.
6. Breaks Are Mandatory.
It’s probably no surprise to you that students don’t concentrate well for long, uninterrupted stretches. Research shows that taking breaks actually helps you keep focus. Rather than demanding your child finish all homework in one sitting, encourage her to take a phone, snack, or stretch break every half hour.
7. Not Good at Math or Writing? Shhhh.
You might be tempted to commiserate with your child ( “I wasn’t good at geometry when I was your age either!”). Instead, tell them you understand math or English is really tough but you know they can do it. If you can’t help with a particular subject, make sure you know who can or look online for great resources like tutorials and videos that break down tough concepts. At The Princeton Review, our tutors are available 24/7 to work 1:1 in an online classroom with a chat feature, interactive whiteboard, and file sharing tool, where students can share their most challenging assignments.
8. Celebrate successes, big and small.
A great biology grade, finished essay, or a whole week following the homework routine deserves some recognition. Maybe it’s a sweet treat on the town or a new app. Your child will appreciate being fêted!