Support your student’s development of executive function by intentionally giving her control of her homework schedule. Use a Weekly Assignment sheet or Planner so she can plan out her academic assignments for the week. In college, she will need this skill to plot out her academic assignments on a monthly chart for the semester, so get her started now with smaller steps.
1. Label the top of the sheet with the date and week number of the academic year. The week number helps the student see her progress through the 30+ weeks. Write the subjects in the left column and add the assignments in the column to the right of it. For example, the Math assignment box might read Lessons 1 – 4 and review.
2. Then the student fills in the assignment she will work on each day. Using the math example, she will write Lesson 1 for Monday on the Math line, Lesson 2 for Tuesday, etc.
3. Discuss with your student the potential roadblocks for achieving her goals that week. For example, piano lessons and classes outside of the home might consume her Thursdays, so she divides her lessons over four days instead of five. Or perhaps one week the family is going out of town for a three-day weekend, so she needs to figure out what she can accomplish in the car on Friday.
4. Mark off assignments as they are completed using an X or colored highlighters, making it easy for the student and parents to monitor progress.
5. Keep in mind your overall goal: that when she gets to college, she will be able to look at her syllabus and break down her semester into chewable (i.e., doable) pieces. She may find that the full-page calendar works best for planning her college semester. If the college syllabus gives due dates for a 4-page book report, she needs to enter the date on her planner calendar and work backwards to peg the dates for the completion of the book, and the completion of the rough draft. She can further break down the reading of the book by adding Chapter numbers to her calendar.
These tools provide steps toward independence—one of the goals I have for my kids!