Homework Help Series: The Essential Homework Planner

Your first purchase of the school year should be a well-designed homework planner. Getting into the habit of consistently using a homework assignment planner is one of the most essential skills your child can learn. Homework planners that have dated, pre-printed pages which are lined and separated into subjects areas are a plus. Sometimes schools pre-order homework planners for students, so check with your individual school before heading out to the stores. Planners should include sufficient room to record assignment directions and page numbers as well as a place to record due dates. Having special areas set aside for general reminders is also a great feature. Some planners are even three hole punched so they hook right into your child's binder and are less likely to get lost! Educational supply stores and office supply stores usually sell these types of  student-friendly planners. If you cannot locate a homework planner, simply make your own. Label a sheet of loose leaf paper with your child's subjects (ie: Math, Social Studies, English, Science etc.) leaving plenty of room between each entry. Leave a blank line at the top of the page where your child can fill in "today's date." Divide the paper by folding it or drawing horizontal lines between subjects. Photocopy several of these sheets and place them in a thin "homework binder." Place a 3 hole punched folder in your child's "homework binder" to carry home any homework sheets, important notices, permission slips etc.

Once your child has a planner, encourage him or her to use it daily. Emphasize neatness and accuracy when copying down assignment directions. In addition, have children physically check off assignments upon their completion. If necessary, you can review your child's homework planner each night, and initial that assignments have been completed and packed away for school. If your child is reluctant to adapt the homework planner habit, point out how even adults rely on this essential tool to help keep them organized. After all, homework planners eventually evolve into the more sophisticated electronic planners we see people using each and every day!

For additional homework strategies, see Homework Help! at www.littleones.com


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