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Balancing homework, busy family life

by jmaloni
Sat, Jan 19th 2013 07:00 am

Submitted by the Kenmore Huntington Learning Center

Life with school-age children can be quite busy, as any parent knows. "When your family has baseball practice and dance class and many other commitments, including homework, it can be difficult to fit it all in," says Katie Bone, director of the Kenmore Huntington Learning Center.

How can parents help their students manage school and everything else? Bone has these tips:

•Establish and keep to a schedule. Take note of your student's learning preferences, set an after-school schedule and arrange activities around homework. As your student gets older - and busier - time management will become more valuable. Help your student learn to use his time effectively by adhering to a schedule and to-do list.

•Learn effective study habits. Teach your student to approach study sessions with a plan, which will help minimize wasted time. Consider each week's to-dos and tailor an organized study schedule to fit each subject. As a simple example, if a spelling test is Friday, on Monday, have your student read through the word list and sort words by prefix or suffix (or whatever the learning concept is that week). On Tuesday, play a word game to help your student master the words. On Wednesday, quiz your child with an oral spelling test and another game, and on Thursday, do a practice test.

•Remember that short, frequent studying is better. If you're concerned that your student's busy schedule does not allow for two-hour study blocks, don't be. Experts say that studying often for shorter periods of time is more effective than lengthy sessions. If your student has evening obligations, try for 20-minute homework sessions after school, after dinner and before bedtime.

•Look for windows of opportunity. Extracurricular activities tend to demand more time as students grow older. So while it is important for students to schedule homework time from an early age, keep in mind that short moments of free time are opportunities for homework, too. If your student is an early riser, morning may be a good time for studying. If a younger sibling has to tag along to an older sibling's practice, find a quiet place where he can do a little homework.

Juggling your student's school and activities - not to mention your own job and life - can be challenging. Incorporating these strategies can help make it easier.

"It's never too early to teach your child to make the most of his or her time," Bone says. "Homework should be a priority, but with good time management and study habits, you and your student will find that there is plenty of time for fun, friends and family, too."

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