There is such truth to the term Spring Fever when it comes to school and homework – I often refer to the pre- and post- Spring Break school world as being like running the third lap in the mile – so close to summer vacation, but we still have a ways to go. It can be easy for students to get caught up with a combination of classroom exhaustion (another science test?!), great weather (BBQ?!) and other distractions (beach/mountains/fro-yo) and have good habits give way to procrastination.
Here are our three solid ways you can help children end the school year off well:
1. Set up a Spring Re-group time to clean out binders, map out the upcoming week, and map out look at goals and make new ones. This can be a bigger one-time clean out followed by weekly (30 minute) or daily (10 minute) re-group times where students make sure all their papers are in the correct place, they have their personal and academic activities mapped out on their planner, and reflect on how they are working towards their goals.
2. Schedule homework blocks of time for over the weekend. With great weather and lots of activities, students can quickly get into the habit of putting off assignments until Sunday night. On Thursday afternoon, have them look at their upcoming weekend and schedule homework blocks of time so all assignments get done before 5 pm on Sunday. Some students prefer to get homework done right away on Friday afternoon, while others like to have Friday afternoon free to go out with friends and hang out. I typically have students come up with two to three 2-hour blocks (depending on whether they are in junior high or high school) with the goal that they will have Sunday evening to relax to set themselves up for a productive week.
3. Reserve time each week to work on upcoming finals review packets. Typically, teachers give the review sheets for finals several weeks ahead of time, and students overlook the practice materials until the week (or day) before the exam when they are often overwhelmed and exhausted. In our office, we have the goal of having students complete all review sheets and make necessary flashcards the week before exams begin. That way, students can spend the week of exams flipping flashcards and finalizing their understanding, rather than just beginning the process. Repetition is key, and simply putting aside a few hours each week can make a big difference.
The most important part about helping kids (and ourselves!) get organized is being able to have more time to do things we find fun and relaxing – so, unwind a bit, enjoy a lingering dinner, play fetch with the dog, listen to music (or make music!)… Spring is that time of renewal that is full of possibility for all of us.