Top 5 Homework Essentials for a Successful Start to the School Year

1. A planner

I encourage all of my students to use an "old school" paper planner. Every Monday encourage your student to write what is DUE on each day. Then write the plan of action, the DO, for each day. By breaking work into chunks, homework and projects become more manageable and students have more confidence and do not struggle as much to get started on their work.

2. Pens and/or sharpened pencils

I cannot tell you how many students I tutor who have a desk full of dull pencils without a sharpener in sight. Kids need to be ready to go the second they sit down to work. A dull pencil or no pen is just another excuse to dilly dally.

3. Paper

Make sure your student has the appropriate lined paper (college-ruled to 3-lined Kindergarten paper) as well as plenty of scratch paper. Sometimes when a student runs out of paper, he or she will simply stop writing even if the work is incomplete! Additionally, when a student does not have scratch paper to figure out Math problems, he or she will skip steps and, consequently, not solve the problem correctly.

4. Post-Its

Post-its are an excellent tool for students to jot questions or thoughts about what they are reading or to point out issues they are having with homework that they can bring to their teacher's attention the next day. A variety of colors and sizes let kids get creative and actually want to use them to organize or note-take.

5. A full belly

A full belly before starting homework means no excuses midway through a Math worksheet. A healthy, protein-rich snack keeps students focused and energized. Kind bars, fruit with nut butter, and cheese with whole grain crackers and dried fruit are just a few of my favorite snacks.