BY LISA RABASCA ROEPE
THE AVERAGE HIGH school student is
assigned as much as three and a half hours
of homework each night, according to a
University of Phoenix College of Education
survey of ;,;;; teachers. Students also
face a challenging paradox: The tools they
use to do their homework—tablets and
computers—also provide the greatest distraction from getting the work done.
“Students quickly become overwhelmed and stressed out trying to manage
the daily confluence of online interactions
with schoolwork, extracurricular activities
and family life,” says Ana Homayoun,
Costco member, founder of Green Ivy
Educational Consulting in Los Altos, California, and author of Social Media Wellness: Helping Tweens and Teens Thrive in
an Unbalanced Digital World (Corwin,
;;;;; not available at Costco).
Here are five tips for helping your high
school student manage homework.
Set the right mood
Agree on a time and place for doing
homework. Some students need a ;;-minute break after school, while others prefer
to get it done immediately, says Johnna A.
Ithier, a special education and math teacher
in Philadelphia. Similarly, some students
need complete silence with no television or
music, while others benefit from background noise, she says. Be flexible and find
out what works best for your child.
Plan out the week
Divide the time from after school to
bedtime into ;;- to ;;-minute chunks and
plan when kids will do homework, practice
sports or music, and spend time relaxing
or hanging out with friends, says Michelle
Scott, Costco member and owner-director
of Tutoring Club of McLean, Virginia.
Writing it on a calendar helps them visual-
ize how to make the best use of their time.
Break it up
Commit to completely focusing on an
assignment for ;; or ;; minutes and then
take a ;;-minute break, suggests Stephanie
Adams, a licensed professional counselor in
Fort Worth, Texas, specializing in anxiety
in teens and young adults. Repeat this cycle
until the homework is completed. Or, try
the ;;/;; approach: schedule ;; minutes of
work time, followed by a ;;-minute break.
Break it down
When a research paper is due in a
month, most students see it as something
far off in the future and put it off until the
last minute. These students need help
breaking long-term projects into smaller
assignments. “The brain isn’t fully developed until age ;;, and being able to plan
things out is the last part of the brain to
develop,” says Amy E. Sauder Lehman, a
licensed counselor with Moving Forward
PLC in Alexandria, Virginia, and a Costco
member. Break the assignment into bite-size steps with deadlines, such as picking a
topic, researching the topic, writing a
rough draft, editing the rough draft and
finalizing the paper.
Just do it
Even if students don’t entirely under-
stand how to do an assignment or can’t fin-
ish it, have them complete as much as they
can and hand it in, Ithier says. “They may
earn partial credit, and it allows the teacher
to see where they are getting confused.” C
Lisa Rabasca Roepe is a freelance journalist
based in Washington, D.C.
BACK TO SCHOOL
call a tutor
IT’S A COMMON myth that only students
who are failing need a tutor. Most students
would benefit from working with a tutor to
develop organization, time management and
test-taking strategies. Here are six signs that
it’s time to call a tutor.
Their grades have significantly
dropped. Your child usually gets A’s and
B’s but is suddenly getting consistent C’s.
They avoid homework. Your child is
reluctant to complete homework or doesn’t
want to discuss assignments.
Their perception doesn’t match
reality. Your child is surprised to receive a
zero on an assignment, a negative progress
report or a failing test grade.
Assignments are taking longer to
complete. Your child is suddenly spending
hours doing one homework assignment.
Their notebooks and backpack are
a mess. Your child’s notebooks and backpack are bulging with papers, and he or
she often forgets to hand in assignments or
study for tests.
Homework has become a family
stressor. “When you feel like the majority of
what you talk about to your child is homework, then it’s time step back and delegate
that role to someone else so you can go back
to being mom and dad,” says Amy E. Sauder
Lehman, a licensed counselor in Alexandria,
Setting the stage for success