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These are often the hardest homework assignments for youngsters to keep track of and to complete.
Know what assignments are due when.
In addition to having a weekly assignment book where daily homework is recorded, it is also advisable to have a monthly calendar on which long term assignments can be written as soon as they are assigned. With younger or more disorganized students parents may want to periodically send in this calendar and ask the classroom teacher to verify that it is up-to-date. Older students should be able to keep these themselves, transferring items as necessary from their weekly assignment book.
Break long term assignments into sub tasks.
Sit down with your child and read over directions or discuss the nature of the long term assignment. Make out a list of the steps necessary to complete the assignment. If desired, this can be a fairly lengthy outline with notes attached providing more guidance about what is to be included for each step. For written reports, for instance, the steps might include taking notes, generating an outline, writing the introduction, the sections of the report and the summary, preparing a bibliography, drawing any necessary maps and charts, proofreading, preparing the final draft, and making a cover.
Draw up a time line.
Once the outline is developed, each sub task should than have due date attached to it and should be written on the monthly calendar.
Care should be taken to ensure adequate time is available for each step. A long report will require that more time be devoted to each step, particularly preparing the final draft and proofreading. If the long term assignment requires that your child use the library, visit a museum, or gather information from outside sources, include these trips on the time line, with dates attached. If materials need to be purchased, the time when this will happen should also be identified.
In the beginning, your child will probably need extensive help breaking down his assignments and developing a realistic time line. As time goes on, he can assume increasing amounts of responsibility for these. Time management is a skill of life-long importance. Developing increasing independence in planning for and executing long term assignments is an early opportunity for a child to acquire this valuable skill.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|