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Good study habits don’t come naturally to most teens. It can be tough to balance algebra homework with extracurriculars, athletics and pesky chores. If your teen is floundering, there are things you can do to help.
Give Your Teen an Office
Where do you do your best work? An office. Teens are no different. They need a study space they can call their own, where younger siblings can’t get chocolate sauce on their math homework. A desk in the bedroom is a good start as it is already your teen’s private space. Worried it offers too many distractions? Set up a homework center in the game or media room with “office hours” to keep siblings out. Hint: Riverstone builders can add additional studies or built-in homework centers when you purchase your new home.
What Should Be in It?
Setting up a study space isn’t tricky. Start with a desk. It should be functional with drawers for school supplies and a bookcase for textbooks. Bonus points if you can give them their own printer.
Organize, Organize, Organize
Teens may not know how to go about organizing their tasks. Fortunately, you are probably a pro. Think about the tools you use. Teens need binders, file folders, places to keep pens, pencils and post-it notes. Make sure they have a bulletin board with a calendar so they can see when projects are due. As most homework is now done on computers, show your teen how to organize files. Download organizational apps for them such as Trello, myHomework Student Planner, My Study Life and Evernote.
Make it Routine
Routines are good, especially when it comes to developing good study habits. Encourage your teen to establish a timetable. That means keeping track of when tests are so they can study a little every day instead of cramming the night before. Understand that your teen might be a night owl who concentrates better during the evening, so ease up on bedtime rules.
Get a Jump Start
There’s no time like the present to get schoolwork done. If your teen doesn’t have any homework for the night but does have an essay due next week, encourage them to start early and get it done.
Teachers Are a Resource
Encourage teens to talk to their teachers. Teachers can help them plan for the week, find resources and help with homework after school. It’s a good life skill because once kids get to college, they will be comfortable approaching professors during office hours.
Do you stay at your desk all day? Probably not. Teens shouldn’t be stuck either. Encourage them to take breaks for snacks, a walk around the park or playing with siblings. When the break is over, they will feel refreshed and more productive.
Distractions come in many forms, but the chief distraction is your teen’s phone. Encourage them to turn off their phones while studying or at least turn notifications off. Freedom is an app your teen can use to block distracting devices. StayFocusd is a Chrome plug-in that blocks websites. Cold Turkey — available for Mac and Windows — is a more extreme version of StayFocusd and blocks specific URLs, keywords — even the entire internet.