Setting up School Year Expectations

How does setting a homework schedule build life skills that impact the workplace?

Just as a classroom teacher sets expectations, parents can also use the start of a new school year to set expectations for homework and chores. As children grow, so should their responsibilities as these life skills may impact their future workplace performance. During the younger years, they can be expected to put their backpack in the designated location and put any “parent homework” in a certain spot everyday. Homeschoolers can be expected to return their daily supplies to a designated location. As they get to the middle years, these school year expectations can grow. To avoid the morning rush or get a few more minutes of sleep, bookbags can be packed the night before, lunches can be made, and clothes laid out. All of this can be done by the children, with some initial supervision by the parents or caretakers. By the launching years, these school year expectations should be firm and there should be little need for reminders or follow ups. 

The start of a new school year is a great opportunity to revisit the expectations. “Each night after you clean up the dinner dishes, I’d like you to make your lunch for the next day.” “Let’s talk about your homework schedule. What time do you think it should be this year?”  Setting a homework schedule will help communicate your expectations and avoid procrastination. Having and keeping a scheduled time for homework helps develop a good work ethic in the middle and launching years so by the time they head off to college or trade school, they will know how to pace their work and manage their time. My own children started making their lunches in elementary school, which was earlier than most of their peers but the perfect time for us. This life skill serves them well in their jobs and grad schools and saves them money. 

Some students are just now transitioning back to in person school after months of remote learning due to Covid. Setting a homework schedule and school year expectations will help the transition go smoothly and ensure that children have time to complete their work and get their materials ready for the next day. If you hear “I don’t have any homework” or even “the teacher said we didn’t have to read if we didn’t want to,” you can choose to set your own expectations for homework time. Reading for at least 15-30 minutes a night has strong connections to accelerated reading gains. Taking regular trips to the library helps to avoid the “I don’t have anything to read” problem. 

With so many gaps evident during the Covid disruption of schooling, nightly reading is an easy way to help children grow academically. Practicing basic math facts for 5 – 10 minutes is another option for children who do not have homework. Additionally, learning how to study is important in the middle and launching years. I have free study tips and free note taking tips available. Teaching children to take and use notes is something I do in my tutoring business. No more waiting until 9pm on the night before the test. Teach them to study 10 minutes a day the week before the test and then go through the study guide to see what gaps need to be filled. 

Parents have final say but give children options and input in creating the back to school expectations. Along with a homework schedule, allow for free time in their after school schedule. Help establish a location for the homework as well, keeping digital devices where you can see them. Make sure that they have the supplies they need. If homework must be done during a sibling’s sports practice or grandma’s medical appointment, make sure you have a bag of homework supplies in the car that also includes books and math practice options. 

In conclusion, no matter your child’s school set up, review your expectations for homework, nightly reading, location for doing work, bedtimes, and school day prep. The next blog post will offer suggestions for chore charts for kids. The end of summer is a perfect time to revisit your school year expectations and your family chores expectations. Which one needs more tweaking at your house?

Want more homework tips? Read this blog post. 

Table Talk: What was your homework schedule like as a child? How are your expectations different for your own children? What’s your favorite children’s book to read?

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