What Distracts You From Homework Chart

Q: Students often have trouble keeping all their notes and handouts organized. Do you have tips for kids of all ages when it comes to studying and completing homework?

A: In my house, we keep to a strict routine. After school, everyone comes in after school we spread out their agendas and make a list of what tasks need to be completed for the week. Due dates are written on the family calendar and homework is prioritized based on due dates and importance. We complete homework prior to moving on to free time. With all three kids doing their homework together, they encourage and help each other complete their task.

Q: Sometimes homework and studying can just be plain boring to children. What are some ways students can make studying fun or rewarding at the end so that it’s worthwhile?

A: Find practical ways to incorporate their studies into real life (i.e., teach fractions with baking cookies, etc). My kids love electronics, so the way we encourage them is to find apps that help them complete their studies on a tablet. One example is spelling test preparation. We use an app that allows us to input his current spelling list. Then he plays the games (fill in the blanks, unscramble etc.) all week to get him used to the words. Then he does the practice exam to prep him for his test.

We work on [learning] together. My kids and I love spending time together. I find they work better on their assignments when I am beside them. I get them to take an active role in explaining the assignment and how they got to their answer to me.

  • Use a calendar and plan ahead

  • Q: Sometimes students leave studying, homework, or projects to the last minute and can become overwhelmed when they start to pile up. Do you have any tips or words of advice for children and/or parents in making their workload more manageable?

    A: We lead a very busy life with sports, clubs, etc. Leaving homework or projects to the last minute can spell disaster, so we try to avoid it from the outset. What we have found works for our family is to have a big family calendar with all of our obligations written on it, including due dates of projects. We use a different colour for each person in the family which makes it easy to read quickly. Then, as parents we sit down with our kids and look at the big project and break it into more manageable bite sized pieces. It allows us to figure in our other time constraints and put more time towards the schoolwork on a night or weekend where we are less busy, and less time on a night that has other obligations and could cause stress or a late night. The other big benefit of this has been the reduction in harried trips to the store for supplies we don’t have on hand. By planning it out ahead of time we are able to get the items we need before we actually need them.

    Another tip I would suggest and one that has worked well for our family is to have scheduled homework time every day. This means that the kids are already prepared that they are going to sit down and do some work but it also gets us ahead at times. For example, if my kids don’t have any homework, we’ll do a worksheet on math, spelling, or another subject that they are working on at school. The internet has so many resources available to print for free. What this does is reinforce what they’re learning in the classroom and reduce the amount of “cramming” time they need before a test. As a parent I’ve found it invaluable because it has highlighted for me areas that my kids are strong in but more importantly, areas where they are struggling a little. This has allowed us to find extra help through the teacher, ourselves or an outside learning centre.

    — Susannah Findlay from Creative Mama On A Dime

  • Split the work up in sections

  • Q: During long homework or studying sessions it’s hard for students to maintain focus and stay productive. In your experience, what are some ways that parents can keep their children motivated and focused when they start to lose interest in their schoolwork?

    A: Staying focused is really hard for kids, especially when they are studying for a test or have a big assignment. Just the thought of it often makes them the wiggliest kid you’ve ever seen. If we have managed to spread the assignment out over a couple of days, we try to chat about the topic casually in the car or at dinner to get them thinking about it when they’re not feeling stressed and pressured. This often allows them time to really analyze and reflect so that when it is time to sit down and do the work, they have already got their thoughts in order.

    We also have found that breaking up the work into smaller chunks throughout the evening is very helpful. We sit down after school and do a section then let the kids go off and play. This gives them a concrete “finish line” which for many kids is necessary. It also re-energizes them and allows them to burn off energy. We slot in another short work session before dinner and then dinner becomes another break, another chance for your child to stretch their legs, laugh, talk, etc. A third chunk after the dinner dishes are done usually does the trick and gets the kids in bed on time with their work done.

    A big tip for helping your kids get through the stress of a big assignment or studying is setting them up for success. This means providing them with a space that is clear of clutter, has the materials they need for their project, is away from a television, radio or tablet and even siblings who are playing. These are all distractions and can cause procrastination, frustration and tears (yours or theirs). While we are all busy and it can seem like we’re in a huge rush all the time, taking 5 minutes to sit with your child as they’re starting their work and making sure they’re on track can save hours later. Check in periodically. Ask questions to make sure they’re comprehending and try to be as positive, calm and level as you can because they will draw from your energy.

    — Susannah Findlay from Creative Mama On A Dime

    Help Your Child Succeed With These Distracted Studying Tips

    Developing the right study skills and finding the perfect study routine takes some trial and error, but in the end it’s worth it. Distracted-free studying will allow your child to achieve his or her academic goals more easily and with less stress.

    If your child needs help with studying or with improving his or her study skills, Oxford Learning can help. Our study skills program helps kids develop strong time management, organization, note taking, study strategies and more. Contact us today!


    Every parent knows the struggle: wondering how to help a child who just can’t seem to concentrate on his or her homework assignments.

    Many kids see homework as tedious or boring, so it’s easy to understand why they’re often easily distracted. Throw technology into the mix (like cell phones and computers) and you’ve got a recipe for distraction.

    How can parents help? It starts with understanding where these distractions are coming from.

    Why Are Children So Distracted?

    Children often understand that they should be completing homework and that there are consequences for not doing it. However, in most cases, they simply lack the experience and self-control to stay focused.

    The “home” setting of homework can be a major source of distractions. It’s filled with toys, internet access, and family members doing their own things. With all these things going on around them, children can find it hard to sit down and tackle homework in an effective way.

    What Other Problems Cause Distraction?

    Other issues can cause children to lose concentration. Stress, frustration, and simply not understanding the material can have a big impact on a student’s ability to concentrate, as well as his or her ability to master the material being taught in class.

    How To Help Your Child Focus On Homework

    If you’re a parent with a child who needs some help staying focused, try out these tips:

    1. Schedule frequent homework breaks
    2. It’s important to give your child enough breaks so that he or she doesn’t get overly frustrated, bored, or start drifting away from the material. Take a 5-10 minute break every 20 to 30 minutes. These small “brain breaks” will help your child refresh his or her mind and return to the material more invigorated. Take a short walk to help get rid of any extra energy so your child will be ready to get back down to work.

    3. Create a dedicated study space
    4. Having a space to work is crucial for homework and studying. Ideally, this space should be used be for homework only, but that may not always be practical depending on the space you have in your home. The most important thing that is this space remain distraction-free and has all the supplies your child needs to work (like pencils and paper). A good study space can have a great impact on helping your child concentrate more effectively on his or her homework.

    5. Help your child when needed
    6. It’s perfectly acceptable for parents to work with their kids—especially at a young age—when it comes time to do homework and studying. Just make sure you are encouraging your child to find the answers to questions him or herself, and not doing the work for your child yourself. Work together, but work toward self-management so your child gets stronger each time.

    7. Make a homework plan
    8. Approach each homework session with a plan of attack. Help your child make a checklist and stick to it. Include what homework assignments your child has each night and any extra materials needed. Creating structure can be extremely helpful to students. It can also help you make sure your child has what he or she needs for each homework session and keep track of how your child is spending his or her time.

    9. Switch up subjects
    10. A major factor in distraction is often boredom. A good way to combat that boredom is to switch subject focus every so often. Mixing it up can help keep the mind engaged and focused. If your child has hit his or her limit with math, switch to another assignment. Come back to any unfinished homework questions later and tackle them with a clearer mind.

    11. Reward hard work
    12. If your child just doesn’t want to complete his or her homework, offer him or her a little incentive for getting tasks accomplished. This doesn’t need to be a big reward. A small treat or a trip to the park can be enough to motivate your child to complete his or her homework and move onto other exciting activities.

    Concentration is Key!

    Concentration and focus are not the easiest techniques to for students to master, especially when it comes to homework. However, with these tips you can teach your child how to become better at concentrating on his or her homework. Once your child develops better concentration and homework skills, it’s easy to become an even better student.

    How to Concentrate on Homework Without Getting Distracted

    Nov 01, 2017•Homework

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