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Y7 Homework - any tips to help with organisation and planning?

(16 Posts)
CointreauVersial Fri 09-Sep-11 09:16:38

DS1 is just coming to the end of his first week at secondary school and is already a little shell-shocked at the amount of homework coming his way. Unfortunately, his primary "didn't believe" in homework as such, so he has very little experience with juggling multiple pieces of work and subjects with different deadlines and teachers. He is not a very focussed child, and will faff around for ages before getting stuck in to his work.

He had a day off from homework yesterday (dentist, football training and an early night) and is already stressing that it is starting to pile up! He needs my help to find some strategies for organising his time and reducing the stress. He has a Planner and Timetable from the school into which he notes the homework required and the day it has to be completed by. I have had the following ideas:

- Have a rolling list of outstanding homework pinned somewhere prominent (I read that on MN)

- Agree approach on work vs play (i.e. no X-Box til homework done, clear the decks before noon on Sunday)

- Buy five boxes/trays labelled with days of the week, so completed work and necessary subject books get taken in on the right day.

- Sort out schoolbag the night before (add contents of relevant tray)

So how do you manage things?? Any other tips and suggestions?

AMumInScotland Fri 09-Sep-11 09:57:26

I'd certainly agree with the 5 boxes and sort the bag in the evening part of that - we got DS to do that and it meant he would always have the right books etc. You can include a slip or something as a reminder for PE kit, food tech ingredients etc.

With homework, DS tried to do it on the day he got it, where possible - it does depend on the teachers and subjects though, as you can end up with 2 or more big pieces on the same day quite regularly. Certainly try to get the small pieces done straight away, and have a plan for the larger ones- if you know you can't fit it in today, hit it tomorrow.

GrungeBlobPrimpants Fri 09-Sep-11 11:48:03

Even primary homework doesn't really prepare you for secondary homework - it's not just the amount it's the bleedin' projects (over half a aterm) that really seem to be hard to manage.

- grab the homework diary as soon as he gets in, and go through it, write in the days homework needs to be in on the due date
- ditto clear all small stuff first, do as much as you can sooner rather than later
- lists, list, lists

Still a management nightmare though!

Pantone Fri 09-Sep-11 12:10:19

We have a no telly rule until homework completely done. dd1 has just started yr 7 and has the benefit of coming from a private prep where she had a lot of homework so she is very used to the amount. She does homework the minute she gets in (late!), with tea and biscuits supplied by me. Supper, shower, pjs then tv if there is time.

SecretSquirrels Fri 09-Sep-11 15:14:59

We had the opposite - huge amounts of Maths and English homework set at primary. At least they weren't daunted by it at secondary.
All your ideas sound spot on.
I would add one more thing.
Make sure he is clear exactly how much is expected for the piece of work. As he is not used to homework he may be overdoing it. At the start of year 7 they tend to get homework set in all subjects but often only a few minutes needs to be spent on each one.
If unsure the school website or his journal might help.

CointreauVersial Fri 09-Sep-11 16:31:15

Thanks for the responses.

I think the idea of doing the small bits first is quite good - he is getting a bit despondent about the length of the current "list" and knocking off a few small tasks quickly might help. I am soooo not looking forward to the project-type homework - I remember getting cold sweats as a child as the deadline approached.

I popped to WHSmiths today on the hunt for some cheap magazine holders or trays but didn't find anything suitable, so I shall look online. Good tip about including a slip in the relevant day-box for swimming kit etc.

Poor boy, he doesn't know what's hit him! With any luck we'll have caught up by Sunday evening.

Keep the suggestions coming.

CrosswordAddict Fri 09-Sep-11 17:39:51

I used a sheet printed with columns :
Subject / What to do / When to hand in
I kept up-dating this sheet every day
Grab the planner every day and up-date the sheet.
Keep the sheet on a clipboard near the place where homework is done
Keep a copy of the homework timetable in BIG LETTERS ON THE WALL.
This sounds a bit OTT but it was the only way I could keep track of our DTDs in year 7
It does get easier! smile

Talker2010 Fri 09-Sep-11 20:00:21

All sound like great ideas

but

He needs to be a part of this ... otherwise when will he learn to organise himself ... so ... rather than grabbing the planner can he complete the sheet on the "fridge" ... if you go for boxes ... he should be able to have responsibility for them

My main suggestion would be to try and find a dedicated space ... not too big ... somewhere small has to be focussed and tidy

MillyR Fri 09-Sep-11 20:15:14

DS found completing home work and general organisation really difficult at the start of year 7 but was sorted by year 8.

One major issue we found was that so many of the pieces of homework were poster, leaflet or powerpoint presentation, and he didn't have a good enough command of software to do this without an adult showing him how to mask an image or whatever. So I think building up computer skills when there isn't a deadline to stress over is helpful. I will encourage DD to do some fun magazine type production thing in the holidays after year six - no academic content, but Glee or something, so she is well prepared with IT skills.

I also think it helps to think of the bigger picture. It is really easy to get up caught up in the issue of hitting deadlines and forget that the point is to learn something. This is heading for huge exam stress. So once DS had got over the initial workload stress, he got into a habit of writing up his revision folder (for the fact heavy subjects - sciences and languages) throughout the year. This meant that the lead up to the end of year exams was very calm because the revision notes were already in place.

I think you managing the process at the beginning is fine; your son can then follow by example. Once he is used to a routine imposed by you, he will just be in the habit of doing it himself.

A bit of advice I got on MN was to have a spare pencil case in his bag or locker with just the essentials in. Then he will be prepared if he does forget his usual one, and can be useful to someone else when they forget theirs.

ellisbell Fri 09-Sep-11 20:38:46

no great tips on organisation but thought I'd reassure you that while teachers tend to start the year with good intentions it wears off as the term continues. Therefore homework tends to diminish ........ do check with other parents if he seems to be spending hours on it. Sometimes teachers ask for more than they are supposed to be setting. I still remember the French sentences where each was supposed to be just a minute or two but the children had not been taught the vocabulary needed and had to look up loads of words.

CointreauVersial Fri 09-Sep-11 21:44:32

Talker - I totally agree, ultimately he needs to organise himself, but I'm trying to put in place a useful framework which he can then follow. This is as much of a learning process as the work itself, it would seem! Underneath, he is quite an organised child, but he has never had to plan his own time before.

At the moment he is choosing to do his homework at the kitchen table - he is desperate to have me nearby to check everything he is doing, and there is nowhere in his room for a desk. That's fine for the time being; at least I can keep his nose to the grindstone, but soon I will try to find him a little corner in the study to encourage him to work alone.

I'm not too worried about his IT skills; he can teach me a thing or two! He helped me do some animations for a Powerpoint presentation last year.

Anyway, we are down to three items now, none required before next Thursday. The list is on the fridge! Hopefully we can knock at least two of them on the head before next week kicks in.

DD1 is in Year 6, I have NO concerns about her next year - I won't even have to look at her homework planner. They're all so different.......

exoticfruits Fri 09-Sep-11 22:03:58

Set up the system, trays are a good idea. Packing the school bag the night before is a good idea. Once you have set up the system leave it to him to organise.

CrosswordAddict Sat 10-Sep-11 11:20:26

Oh, yes, forgot to say.
When DTDs started high school I had two strong (short) shelves put up in the dining room (kind of out of sight but near the front door for morning rushes) These are great because they have got one set place to keep all school books. At the end of the shelf is a MAGAZINE HOLDER in plastic (WH smith I think). This is for all the handouts and booklets they get given.
They are now in Year Nine and still use the same system but have now graduated to doing HW in bedroom not just in dining room
They just take one subject at a time up to their room.
DON'T LET YOUR DC KEEP BOOKS IN BEDROOM grin They have a habit of getting lost wink

AMumInScotland Sat 10-Sep-11 14:16:51

FWIW DS still does his at the kitchen table most of the time - they do learn to work on their own as they get into the habit of it. And as they realise that you don't know about the exact stuff they are currently doing! So don't worry if it's in the kitchen or his bedroom, the independence will develop over time.

If you feel you need to "encourage" a bit more independence, just make sure you don't drop what you're doing too quickly to help him - get him to explain it to you while you wash the dishes/ mind the dinner - by the time he's explained it to you he'll probably see where he's going wrong.

starfleet Mon 12-Sep-11 16:01:28

DS has also just started year 7. He did get a fair amount of homework whilst in primary school but was also a little shock at the amount he's received since the start of school a couple of weeks ago!

He has a clear shelf in his bedroom for school books only and I have put up a pinboard and white board on the wall where his desk is - a copy of his weekly timetable is up there and he writes on the white board which pieces of homework need to be in on which day and crosses them off as they are done. He has also been issued with a homework planner that i have to sign at the end of each week so i can keep an eye on the work he has. He's also packing his school bag the night before so everything is ready for the next day.

CointreauVersial Mon 12-Sep-11 16:29:06

Whiteboard - now there's a good idea.

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