How to Create a Daily Homework Routine
By Adina Levitt, Instructor
Homework. Often a dreaded task students want to get through as quickly as possible. However, with an intentional and executive function focused approach, homework time can be a more effective and manageable process.
Here are 7 tips students can use to create an effective homework routine:
- Get situated in a quiet, distraction-free space.
As much as students may think otherwise, the human brain does not allow us to multitask well. Removing distractions from the environment provides students with an optimal space where they can fully attend to their work. Encourage them to leave their phone in another room, turn desktop notifications off, close extra tabs, and work in a quiet space with minimal visual distractions to set them up for a successful homework environment.
2. Set a timer.
Our attention spans are finite. As much as a student may think working for 4 hours straight is what they need to do to get that assignment done, our brains need breaks in order to function best. The Pomodoro Technique offers a helpful framework that maximizes productivity and supports executive functions of attention, motivation, decision making, and time management (25 minutes on, 5 minutes off). With an end goal in mind, students can engage in more focused work knowing that a respite is coming.
3. Make an agenda.
It’s homework time, but does your student know where to start? Have them consult their school planner or online school calendar and write down a list of the assignments they want to work on during this homework block. After creating the list, they can assign each task an order of operations. Some factors to consider when prioritizing tasks could be: when it’s due, how many points it’s worth, or the difficulty of the task.
4. Read directions.
Now it’s time to jump in! A thorough approach to doing an assignment involves carefully reading directions to understand expectations. But what does that really mean? Try reading directions aloud, underlining important information, and restating them using different wording. Rubrics also provide helpful guidance on assignment directions; Try turning rubrics into simple checklists to follow while working through a task.
5. Take a break.
When that work timer goes off, it’s time for a well-deserved break. Put 5 minutes on the clock and enjoy! Some break options include a movement break, mindfulness, a music break, or a puzzle break. A walk around the house or a snack break work too! When the timer goes off, set it for another work interval and repeat the timer cycle.
6. Review work.
To avoid careless mistakes, students should review their work by checking that all requirements (found in the directions or in a rubric) were completed. They can read their written responses aloud and redo their math computations as a check. Students can also check in with themselves: “Did I do my best work? Do I feel ready to submit this assignment?”
7. Hit submit.
Students have done amazing work up to this point, now let’s help them get to the finish line! Online assignments need to be submitted (hit that submit button!) and paper assignments need to be placed neatly into backpacks so they make it back to school on time.
BONUS TIP: Once a student has determined a homework routine that works for them, they can create a checklist that serves as a visual reminder and holds them accountable for following each step.
These tips will help students develop an effective homework routine that will strengthen their executive function skills and serve them well throughout their academic career.