For many families, “homework time” is viewed as a difficult and overwhelming process – but it doesn’t have to be! Here are 5 tips to make homework a stress-free experience for parents and students.
1. Give yourself time. Without a doubt, time constraints and a feeling of being “rushed” are the main causes of stress when it comes to completing homework assignments on time. Try your absolute best to avoid procrastination, because most homework anxiety comes from knowing an assignment is due the following day and you haven’t started yet. Don’t leave yourself crunched for time! The best way to avoid this is to glance through your assignments in advance in order to estimate the amount of time each will require. Which leads us to our next tip…
2. Create an agenda. Keeping track of which assignments are going to be quick nightly tasks and which ones are going to take a few days can be tricky. Don’t try to remember all of this in your head – in order to budget your schedule, keep a detailed planner or agenda outlining important due dates and upcoming responsibilities. We recommend creating your weekly agenda at the start of each week in order to prioritize your homework schedule.
3. Organize your materials. Another main cause of homework anxiety comes from struggling with misplaced assignments or school materials. This is easily avoided by tidying up your backpack and adhering to an organizational system for your school materials. For older students, separating your materials by subject is essential – for instance, don’t keep math assignments in the same binder as English homework. We also recommend color coding your subjects (using dividers or highlighters) for ease of organization. This is especially helpful when creating your agenda – each subject can correspond to a different color, so it’s easy to differentiate between classes.
4. Don’t be self-critical. Students often get stressed out with homework when they don’t understand the assignment or what is being asked of them. Our advice is simple: do the best you can! Homework is meant as practice, and teachers are looking to see if a student put in a genuine effort and attempted the assignment. Don’t worry about getting all the answers correct, because the point of homework is to learn and get better. If you have the choice between attempting the assignment with possibly incorrect answers OR not doing the assignment at all, the first option is always better. Your teacher will at least give you partial credit for participation and attempting the work!
5. Work with a tutor. In many cases, homework anxiety stems from gaps in a student’s learning. This is especially common with complex subjects (like math) that are highly sequential and rely on having a core understanding of fundamental concepts before moving forward. Tutors have the unique ability to go back to previous sections and revisit areas that may have been unclear. A tutor can also help with planning, organizational skills, and executive function abilities (like time management). To learn more about what makes one-to-one tutoring different than other instructional methods, click here!