Bridging ESLR’s: Helping your Child with Personal Management
Students of all grade levels need the opportunity to learn personal management skills, as organizing and balancing one’s academic, social and family life can be a handful. Every teacher has had at least one student who leaves a trail of loose papers and pencils where he/she goes and this student can never find his/her homework among the layers of crumpled papers in a backpack or desk. Often these students struggle with keeping up in school, not because they can’t do the work, but because they can’t find it, forget to hand it in or forget to bring it back to school. They are still learning how to organize their belongings and their time. Organization does not just happen. Parents and teachers can work together by using strategies to support students so that they can be successful in school. We can teach them a skill that they can carry with them throughout their whole life.
In the classroom, teachers model and employ a variety of organizational and time management skills ranging from posting a daily routine to modeling how to use an agenda book. As students move through the grades, their unit projects become more involved and complex, their homework increases and the expectations set for them are higher. In Grade 5, students just finished their Movers and Shakers Unit. During this unit, they had extensive research to do in order to write an autobiography and give a presentation to the class. In order to help the students understand and visualize their time, we made a list of all the smaller tasks that they needed to complete in order to finish these two projects. We discussed how much time students would be given in class and in the computer lab and we made a timeline outlining what students would accomplish during each block. Students knew how much of the project would be in-class work and how much they would need to work on it for homework. By breaking up big tasks into smaller, bite-sized jobs, students don’t feel overwhelmed by the project and are able to manage each step, either with support or independently.
Don’t rush: Have your child wake up early enough for school to arrive ahead of time, so he/she isn’t arriving to school stressed. Students who are late often forget to hand in their homework because they are so busy just trying to catch up with the morning activities.
Check your child’s agenda book: Ask to see your child’s agenda book before and after he/she has completed his/her homework. Take a look at the completed homework and ask your child to explain the expectations of the task to you. Ask your child, “When is this due?” or “What do you do with this when you get to school?”
Create an effective study atmosphere: Designate a quiet, well-it area for doing homework. Have all the supplies needed (pen, pencil, eraser) nearby so your child doesn’t have to get up again and again to gather materials. Schedule consistent study time for your child every day. Encourage your child to avoid last minute, frantic assignment finishing. Often children like to have a parent nearby so there is immediate help available, if needed.
Encourage your child to avoid overload: Talk to your child about the importance of balancing homework time with ASA time. Remind your child that homework and classroom work is a priority over ASA’s and that teachers still expect the homework to be completed on the nights when your child as an ASA. Discuss with your child what an appropriate level of extra curricular involvement would look like in conjunction with homework and family expectations, such as family dinners, holidays, and events.
Post a Family Calendar: Use a calendar to organize all your family and school events. Have the calendar posted where your child can see and refer to it regularly. Color-coding similar activities on your calendar is helpful for visual learners. For example, highlight all upcoming family events in yellow and school events in green. Write down all ASA’s in pink.
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