Dust off those backpacks and lunch boxes: School is Back in Session
I can't believe that it's already time to send the kids back to school! Our little one is only 9 months old, but she's already so interested in watching the older kids flocking together to start their classes.
Even from the younger grades, kids are coming home with homework. It's never too early to start learning some good study habits. It might seem like overkill now, but like anything else, building the habits now will make it so much easier to stick to them as the work gets tougher in future years.
Younger kids would benefit from having a designated area in the home where all the school stuff is kept. In the morning when it's time to head out, you know the backpack, shoes, water bottle, school supplies, sunscreen etc are all in one place.
Older kids would benefit from a planner to keep track of assignments, dates of tests, and extracurricular activities. Sit down with them in the morning and after school to review it with them. Encourage them to check off completed items and enjoy the sense of accomplishment from finishing all their to-do's.
Designate a Homework Spot
Kids (and adults alike!) need a space to get their work done. This area should be well-lit and free from distractions and be equipped with all the necessities (paper, pens, calculator etc). Ideally, it would be free of cell phones or other screens that might lead to distractions (I'm looking at you, Snapchat!).
Follow a Routine
Having a set time to sit down and do homework is also very helpful. Many families will have an after school snack, chat a bit about the day, and then sit down to do homework. This works well because helps avoid the after-dinner surprise of "my science project is due tomorrow, and I haven't started". Also, kids can enjoy the rest of their afternoon and evening without having pending homework hanging over their heads.
Engage in Learning
By actively processing the material, it is easier to absorb concepts. Encourage your children to ask questions about their reading, try to see the material from different viewpoints, and summarize as they read. Not only is active learning more productive, it helps foster a sense of curiosity and thirst for knowledge. Take this concept and use it to stoke your child's curiosity. If a question comes up that can't be easily answered, take a moment to look it up. Model that learning is lifelong and can be fun!