My son is in 5th grade this year. Big changes at school – they no longer have the same teacher all year, more independent thinking and reasoning, and the level of homework and studying have increased. There’s a lot more need to start studying subjects every day and not just the day before the test – this is a big change and tough my son who would always prefer to procrastinate.
Establish routine. Routine is important and something my kid can always use help with. But once a routine is established, things always run much more smoothly. After school each day he eats a light snack and drinks a glass of ice water. This helps him to be focused when he is doing his homework.
I then make sure he goes through his backpack, removing any graded paperwork that was returned, school notices, and homework for the day. We also make sure his school supplies are well stocked – in 5th grade they no longer have a dedicated desk so extra school supplies such as pencils are kept at home.
First, written homework is completed. Then he works on studying, reviewing notes from the day, and preparing for upcoming tests. The big difference as he gets older is learning the habit of studying every day even with a test may be a few days away.
Establish rules regarding electronics We have a ‘no electronics on school nights’ rule. Cell phones are allowed to make calls to family or to listen to music. The computer may be used for homework. No television shows, YouTube videos, or video games. We are already so busy during the week with homework, chores, and sports that there isn’t much time for TV watching or game playing. By having the set rule, it’s clear where time should be prioritized and there’s no rushing through homework so a show can be watched. Although electronics can be distracting, I allow my son to use technology for things like researching a class project. Each year, more and more of his assignments are online so he needs to be using his electronics to complete homework and study.
Create a Homework station Create a homework station where supplies are all in one place and easily accessible. Because homework in our household is done at the kitchen table, I needed to create something that is portable and can be stored nearby.
Homework Station Tutorial
Step 1: Stock up on school supplies. As they reach the upper grades of elementary school their needs change. Instead of daily homework worksheets, much of his time is spent studying for a test or on longer-term projects. Flashcards and notebooks are helpful for these tasks. Mechanical pencils and pens have been swapped for pencils and crayons. In addition to a ruler, he needs a protractor.
Step 2: Select a container – this can be a basket, metal bin, or plastic container. I used a utensil holder that I already had lying around the house (I love using these for household kits and often stock up when they go on summer clearance). I wanted to add the word LEARN to the homework station. I used my Silhouette to cut vinyl letters, added transfer tape, and applied to the container. The word LEARN is done in Baskerville Old Face font and cut from gray colored vinyl.
Step 3: Add supplies. I like to use plastic cups in the slot so smaller items don’t get lost.
Step 4: Store in an accessible location near where homework is completed. My son does his homework on the kitchen table and I store supplies on a shelf of an end table that is a few feet away. No wasted time searching for school supplies and no excuses that he can’t find what he needs.