Why you shouldn’t quit sport for homework

Why you shouldn’t quit sport for homework

How to keep your senior student doing the activities they love while achieving at school

Homework time available
The week of a busy Year 11 student broken down...17.5 hours were available for study
I was recently reading an article that our friends at Dance Sensations shared called ‘Don’t make your kids quit dancing to study’.
 
It highlights an area that I believe is becoming increasingly important to young people these days. Too many students believe that they need to give up their after school activities to ‘focus on their studies’ in Year 11 and 12.
 
This can too often be counter productive for a lot of students.
 
Having a positive outlet where students can release energy and stay healthy has major benefits on their health and well being. With the rise in anxiety and mental health issues facing students these days, this has never been more important.
 
Exercise as a part of this outlet leads to increased focus and improved results when they are studying. There is more and more research out there showing the positive links between exercise and memory. Students can be very successful at school, have plenty of time for homework and still be involved in a wide range of outside activities.
 
To do this you will need to help your child with 2 main things:
  1. Helping your child develop time management skills.
  2. Understanding that the intensity of their homework and study is as important as the amount of time they spend doing it.
This blog will outline some ideas to help your student with the above 2 points. A word of warning…it will take some effort and time to set up. But this time will prove invaluable when you have a happy and healthy student with great academic results at the end of the HSC.

Doing a time audit

 
I used to do this with students at school who would claim that they ‘didn’t have enough time to do their homework and assessments. We would sit down and map out every single hour of their week.
The the results were quite interesting. The example at the top of this Blog was from a student who was a talented basketballer. We started with the amount of hours in a week (168) and allocated time for everything we could think of:
 
  • Sleep – 9 hours a night
 
  • School – 6 hours per day Mon – Fri + 1 hour travel time each way
 
  • Meal times – 30 mins per meal (lunch break at school already counted)
 
  • Time to get ready each morning
 
  • Basketball – Training, game time, travel to and from games, fitness training
 
  • Job – was working 8 hours per week in a casual job
 
  • Free time – vitally important…the 14 hours here is pretty generous too.
 
So after all of this, we had identified that the issue was not that he didn’t have time to do homework and assessments. 17.5 hours per week was more than enough time to complete his homework. The issue was that he was not effective at time management.

Setting a weekly schedule

 
Once you know how much time they have to allocate to homework and study, you then have to help your child put that time into a weekly schedule. The key points to remember here are:
 
  • Make sure it is realistic…e.g don’t put a 3 hour study session on a Friday night. No 17 year old is doing that!
 
  • Identify times when they will be most productive
 
  • They will need help following this to start with…be hard on them.
 
  • All school work is social media free time…leave their phone in another room.
 
Continuing our example from above…we knew that we knew he had 17.5 hours to do his homework we had to identify the times that he had available to do it in.
 
We agreed that we’d aim for 15 hours of scheduled homework time per week.
 
The key here was to be as specific as possible and to set a schedule that was realistic and achievable. For example he was usually pretty fatigued after his Tuesday basketball training session. This meant that doing homework after this time would not have been productive. It was important then that he made full use of the 2 hours at home before heading to training. All of our days were designed with these sort of things in mind.
 
As you can see, this made his week seem pretty full on. It was busy yes, but it allowed for a balance of schoolwork, free time, a part time job and still allowed him.to pursue his passion of basketball. We discussed the importance of sticking to this schedule, and getting his parents to help him out with it. Using his free time and socialising as a reward for completing his designated study time on a Friday arvo.
 
Switched On Education personalised study timetable

Getting the wheels in motion

 
Doing the time audit and the schedule is the easy part. Actually sticking to it and following through is waaaaaaaaaaay harder. This is where you as the parent need to help and support them. Beware, it is going to take some tough love, and possibly a few shouting matches. Most teenagers need a lot of help in getting started on something like this. They need you to constantly check on them, challenge them and call them out if they’re not following through.
 
By structuring their time better, they will become more organised and diligent students. Effective time management is a skill that is in high demand in the workplace and is necessary for higher studies if they choose that path.
 
Most importantly though, your child will stay happy and healthy by being able to pursue whatever sport or activity gives them a break from all the study.

Over to you

 
If you liked this article please share, and if you need any advice or help in setting up a study schedule for your senior high school student, please give us a call at Switched On Education. To read our other blog posts please click here.

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