By Slavik Tsimura, Director Academics & Music
“Hold on Mom, I’ll start my Homework in Twenty Minutes!” screams Timmy an hour before dinner. Forty-five minutes pass and Timmy’s mom asks, “Did you get your homework out yet?” Timmy replies, “Mom I will take it out after we finish eating dinner.” Timmy comes down to the dinner table after 15 minutes and eats dinner with his family. Timmy’s mom reminds him to make sure he starts his homework right after dinner. An hour passes and she goes up to check on him in his room. He quickly reaches in his book bag and pulls out a folder full of crumpled up papers and starts shuffling through the papers to find out what he needs to complete. Timmy’s mom stands at the door and watches her son struggle once again with completing his homework.
This scene is common amongst many parents and their children but it doesn’t have to be. This is something that can be worked at and it something that the parents can help to fix! There a number of issues here to be addressed before Timmy can be successful.
First and foremost, Timmy needs to set up an “appointment” with his homework. This is a time slot that he devotes to doing homework on a daily basis. Timmy along with everyone else in the family should agree to this time slot in that Timmy will be held accountable for if he misses his “appointment” with his homework.
Second, Timmy needs a secure and safe place to work on his homework, away from distractions. I like to call this place Timmy’s “private office.” He can even take the time to put up his office hours that tells everyone when he is and not available.
Timmy is disorganized and believe it or not this can be one of the most overwhelming circumstances for a child. I remember working with a student who I asked him to take out a piece of paper that we were working on the day before. He resisted the first time and the second time. I explained to him that we can’t move on without this paper that we completed the day before or else we have to start from the beginning. He said okay and then went to his room to get this paper. Five minutes later he came out with his mom and he was in tears. We went back to his room and I was shocked at all the papers he had stacked in different drawers and cabinets. He had papers that dated back four or five years. I myself became so overwhelmed for him and then the organization process started.
We started going through heaps of papers and decided what we would keep and what we would throw away. His mom helped us organize his desk and she bought him different fixtures to set up on his desk that he could put away things like pencils, papers, etc. We set up a simple filing method on top of his desk. “Papers to take back to school” and “papers to leave at home.” I cannot stress how important it is to teach students the importance of being organized. They don’t even understand that this is what is weighing so heavily on them but if we show them a different approach to doing homework then they can slowly turn it around and be successful!