Tips to Keep your Student Focused While Completing Academic Work at Home

Whether your student completes schoolwork from home on a regular basis, is completing work at home for a specific reason like the current disruption in the school calendar or has supplemental coursework they do after the traditional school day, there are a few easy things you can do to help them be successful.

Designate a specific study area.

You don’t need a separate room to facilitate learning from home. If your child has their own designated desk, encourage them to clean it out and remove any extra items from drawers and the desktop so that they can begin to actively use the desk. If your child usually works at the kitchen table, have a basket or bin nearby where they can keep their books and school supplies. When it’s time for “school,” they can quickly spread out their things and get started. Consider adding a fun pencil cup or motivational picture to help create a visual cue that the space is currently being used for educational purposes. When they are finished, they can put all the items back in the bin and stash them out of the way until the next study session.

Review assignments.

It’s important to make sure your child is clear on the assignments or tasks ahead of them. Review assignments from teachers and tutors with your student to make sure they are clear with expectations and deadlines. If you have a younger student with questions, consider emailing the teacher yourself to get more information. If you have an older student, help them draft a clear email from their own account asking for clarification when needed.

Use a daily calendar.

Help your child continue to improve their own study skills by mapping out their schedule for the week. (Older students can plan out their own schedules; younger students might need help organizing what needs to be done each day.) A calendar app on their phone, a digital calendar on the computer or a hard-copy personal agenda all can be very useful planning tools.

Use a timer.

Help your child stay aware of the time. Many students depend on teachers and bell schedules to help them know when it’s time to move to the next activity. Use a digital or kitchen timer to help your student know how long to spend on a task or when to move to the next project. Maybe they need to work on reviewing vocabulary for 20 minutes and then spend 45 minutes working through math problems. A timer will signal when they should transition to the next subject.

Build breaks into the schedule.

Your student will need breaks, particularly if there is a lot of work to accomplish at one time. Allow your student to play an online game, check their phone, etc. during breaks. More importantly, encourage them to get up and walk around, step outside and maybe go for a quick walk or bike ride. This mental break also will provide a much-needed vision break from staring at the computer or materials for too long.

Use checklists.

Checking boxes on a to-do list can be very satisfying. Let your student see all they have achieved each day. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to see all that needs to be done, however it can be encouraging to recognize all that’s already been accomplished!

With a few easy steps, you can help your child successfully complete schoolwork from home.

Girl working on a packet