Long gone are the days when kids would come home from school and simply play together on the street until their mother’s whistled to come inside for dinner. These days, it’s common to find parents feeding children in their cars as they race between school, sports practices, music lessons, dance classes, coding clubs, tutoring centers, gymnastics, and more. So how does one balance schoolwork with this kind of schedule?
Cutting back on extra curriculars is good advice if your child is tired frequently or seems stressed. It’s also good advice if your child’s schedule makes you tired or stressed. In these instances, it really is okay to say no and curtail after-school programs. There is no one right way to do this. Don’t compare yourself or your child to anyone else. Just do what feels right for your family.
If you do commit to an afterschool activity, know that your child’s ability to study and complete homework well will change daily. On the days your child is busier, offer to help. A small dose of kindness will go a very long way.
On the days that your child needs help, you can organize his or her materials so that everything is ready for him or her to start working. You can also quiz your child in preparation for an upcoming test, listen to assigned literature books together in the car and discuss your child’s thoughts, and help your child complete portions of long-term projects in order to avoid “eleventh hour” work.
When your child is active outside of school, becoming proactive in providing both the oversight and support he or she needs to study and complete homework well will model and teach your child the time-management skills that will be needed for the rest of his or her life. Balancing schoolwork with interests outside the classroom takes flexibility and thoughtfulness. Stocking up on healthy, filling, and delicious food to keep in the car helps too.
Rachel Fisher, MA
Franklin offers specialized academic tutoring, home school, test preparation, and educational therapy in Los Angeles and Orange County. Contact us for more info!