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Hartselle Enquirer

Mom’s Corner

Still getting in the back-to-school swing

Well, we’re back in the swing of school.  Um, well, sort of, kind of, maybe?  OK, maybe not.  Yes, we are back in the swing of getting up and getting to school.  However, the Blaylock house is still working on juggling football, softball, and color guard practices, games,  open houses, college and work schedules, fundraisers, church activities and, oh yeah, homework.  This does sound like a lot, but keep in mind it is for eight people four of which are still in public school and two in college and two parents. How do we do it?  Lots of planning and devoted friends who come to our rescue!
As I have mentioned before we have a family calendar as well as individual planners and the “master planner”  better known as Mom’s Planner.  Now all that having been said I still worry about school work.  I truly believe it is my children’s own responsibility to take care of their homework, but that does not mean I do not care or that I do not try to help.
When I began to see how busy we were going to be this fall.  I decided it would be a good idea to also review strategies for helping my children develop good study habits.  Of course, every child is different and to some extent each person has to find his or her method to studying.  However, there are some general guidelines according to Habits for Successful Students.
1.   Do not try to do too much at any one time.  For example, my second grader missed two days of school.  I did not ask him to set down and do all his makeup work in one setting.  Younger grade school children need breaks every 10 – 20 minutes.  Older grade school children need breaks every 20 – 30 minutes.  Junior High kids can usually make it 30 to 45 minutes before needing a break and high school kids need to take breaks at least once every hour to hour-and-half.  Taking breaks helps keep them mentally alert.
2.  Try to stay on a schedule of when and where children study.  Believe it or not if children have scheduled study time every afternoon from 3:45 to 4:30, they become mentally prepared to study during that time.  “Study” does not necessarily mean homework.  It can mean homework, reading a book, preparing for a quiz, reviewing notes, working on a project, etc.  Of course, it is better to have an area of your home for school work, but of course that’s not always an option in some families.  For instance, in our home our dining room doubles as a “study.”
3.  “Worst First” tends to be true.  Children should do the hardest work first when they are the freshest both mentally and physically.
4.   Limit interruptions as much as possible.  This is very hard in our family because there are so many people who live in this house.  However, I do try to keep the interruptions at bay, especially from outside sources such as friends.  I often have to answer the phone and say, “Sorry he/she is doing his/her homework.  Can he/she call you back later?”  My children are not always pleased with this.  However, I do have an exception to that rule. They can have limited phone time if it happens to be concerning homework.  I do make a point of checking from time to time to make sure that really is what’s going on.
5. On the subject of interruptions.  How about TV and radio?  TV is a no.  However, a radio is okay as long as it is not driving someone else crazy and I continue to see progress.
6.   How about re-writing notes taken in class?  That depends on the student.  I found this to be an invaluable study tool when I was in college, however, I think it is up to the student and what kind of notes they took and if they are legible to begin with.  If the notes are very messy, it is probably a good idea to re-write them when they are fresh in the child’s mind.
7.  Should parents help with homework?  Of course.  Should we just do it for them — well, of course not!  It is one thing for me to proof read one of my child’s papers and quite another to answer the questions.
8.  Help your child balance their time.  If you see your child has hit his/her limit with a particular lesson, it is time to take a break and go back to it later.  Sometimes 10 or 15 minutes of goofing off and de-stressing makes all the difference in the world.
I hope you have a great week!  If you have a hint, tip, or comment for Mom’s Corner, please e-mail it to:  moms-corner@juno.com.

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