Saturday, June 11, 2011

Managing Schoolwork Responsibilities

Today I have the great pleasure of being the host on Day 5 of the Virtual Book Tour for the E-Book Parenting Responsively for Connection, Written by ACPI Parenting Coaches - including Marcia Hall of Strong Roots Family Coaching.  The book will help parents to deal with the most difficult task of maintaining connection with the growing child whose behavior changes and shifts. Click here to order.  

Yesterday, the book tour stopped by Dr. Caron Goode’s blog at now if you haven’t had the opportunity to meet all the authors. 

Meantime enjoy this book excerpt written by Adina Lederer .  I hope you will find it as useful as I have!!!

Managing Schoolwork Responsibilities

Once a child reaches middle school, heavy school workloads are to be expected. During the middle school years, children are learning more than facts and figures. They're really beginning to learn to think and solve problems on their own.

Over recent years, however, I've noticed that as early as second grade, children are being tasked with extensive and lengthy homework assignments that can literally take all night to complete.

During my teaching years, I always tried to assign the right amount of work to help reinforce school lessons while being sensitive to the time it takes to complete. As a parent, I'm tasked with squeezing in dinnertime, homework time and playtime into a few short hours each night. As a parent coach, I relate to the struggles parents share when it comes to managing nightly homework, math fact memorization, spelling, special projects, book reports and more.

In each of my roles, what I've found is that a heavy workload often increases stress in both parents and children, which can lead to a great deal of anxiety.

Children often feel overwhelmed with the sheer magnitude of work that needs to be accomplished and the inability to problem solve, organize their thoughts and prioritize, leads children to misbehave, give up or get sick from stress.

The good news is that when children are presented with strategies to manage their workload effectively, it promotes growth in their academic development and builds a sense of security and calm and reduces stress so that they can reach their maximum potential.

When children are given strategies, they will learn how best to cope and manage their current workload.
Give them the tools they need to manage challenging situations in their academic and professional futures, and we can help them thrive and not just survive!
If you find that your child is struggling with managing his workload and handling the pressures of school responsibilities, put these ten strategies into play. Doing so will empower you and your child to create a structure that leads to success.
1.  Make use of assignment pads. Set aside a page per day to track nightly assignments. Doing so helps establish a lifelong pattern of making and working off of “to-do” lists.
2. Utilize a monthly calendar: Every student should have a monthly calendar (with boxes large enough to write in).  Monthly calendars are great for tracking long-term assignments and for helping children establish for themselves a timeline that they can see. You can print out a calendar from your word processing program or find a free template online.
3. Create tasks leading up to due dates for long-term assignments: When children break down long-term assignments into bite-sized pieces, the assignment is less overwhelming.
4. Facilitate test awareness and planning: Marking test dates and study times on a calendar can help prevent cramming and feelings of anxiousness.
5. Promote prioritization: On a nightly basis a student should prioritize their assignments and responsibilities. For example, assignments due the next day should be completed first. 
6. Organize tasks: Once a student has prioritized their workload, organizing tasks into the order that they need to be completed can help bring focus to homework time.  As the student completes each assignment, have him check it off in the assignment pad and put it away in a homework folder.
7. Provide Support:  Be available to support your child while he is completing his assignments.  Many children need instructions clarified or assignments explained for them to properly understand what they're being asked to do.
8. Encourage your child to find a study partner: Having a study partner can increase motivation, provides accountability and can make studying fun. A study partner, who can be a parent, sibling, friend, or tutor, can be beneficial in reducing stress related to feeling overwhelmed with the desire to perform well.
9. Use study aids:  From flashcards to mini memory games, study aids can help students retain material that is difficult to memorize.
10. Employ creativity: Create songs, clues, pictures, dances, riddles, during the course of studying.  Do whatever it takes to make learning and studying fun!

Learning and utilizing homework strategies at an early age promotes healthy study habits that will last a lifetime. Learning to be organized, prioritize, and manage responsibility produces stronger, healthier and productive children who will grow up and be assets to the world at large.

Be sure to follow the Virtual Book Tour tomorrow when the next stop is Day 6 with my good friend Mary Boyle of

As usual, please share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.  We appreciate the re-tweets and sharing on FaceBook to spread the word.


Dr. Caron Goode said...

Marcia, I am so glad to see your post on the school-aged children, who are often an overlooked group for support and communication. I thought you offer a superb E-book on very hot topics for parents. Thank you


Angela said...

These are great tips. Thank you so much. I'm always worried about overdoing it.

Sherri said...

I loved the strategies for homework. My son was in middle school for the first time this past academic year and I couldn't believe how much more homework he had! I could've used these tips then, but glad to have them for next year.
Thanks Marcia.