How to Establish a Homework Routine on Weekends

Homework. Blech. No one likes it. Especially on weekends.

So how should students manage their time during their precious weekend time? When is the best time to do homework, and when is the best time to relax?

In my experience, most students want to save their homework until Sunday night. While understandable (Homework is distasteful! Why not push it off until the last possible moment?), this habit often gets them in trouble, as they usually have more homework than can possibly be accomplished between 6-9pm on Sunday.

I know many parents who want their kids to get homework started on Saturday mornings. If a student is motivated to do it, this is a fine suggestion. However, I’m a big believer that kids need a break from school work, just like adults do. I’d HATE my life if I worked every day of the week; why should it be any different for kids?

Sunday ritual to the rescue!

Recently I stumbled upon this blog entry by Cal Newport about how to create a ritual that starts on Sunday morning and continues for the rest of the day. As Cal says, “Friday and Saturday are a time to be social. Sunday morning and afternoon is a time for you to regroup, get organized, and get prepared for the upcoming week.”

The ritual he proposes includes a big breakfast, a swing by the library to do some planning for the day, getting some exercise, and then some time later for thinking through the upcoming week.

Cal writes for college students, not high school students, and so the Sunday ritual he proposes is quite a bit more elaborate than I’d advocate for younger students. You’ll note that it doesn’t include time for homework, just for planning for the week (I’m guessing that Cal proposes trying to get most homework done during the school week itself).

However, I love the idea of creating a routine, and I especially love that the routine includes exercise. I recommend that students design their own rituals, and include time for:

  • planning for the week (in the morning)
  • exercise (in the late morning)
  • homework (after exercise…given that the brain is most ready for learning after at least 20 minutes of exericse)

Of course, family schedules are complex, and this routine may not work for everyone. So often my coaching clients will tell me, “I wanted to do my homework when we planned, but my mom made me help her around the house.” Perhaps this is true! Perhaps it is ALSO true that the teen didn’t tell her mother that she HAD a plan in the first place.

Regardless, having a Sunday ritual that works for the whole family will make these kinds of excuses a moot point, and lead to greater productivity AND a greater sense of control. Not to mention, the opportunity to relax and enjoy Sunday evening without having to finish last minute assignments.

If you are a parent having trouble getting buy-in from your teen about establishing Sunday rituals, a few sessions of academic coaching (to brainstorm ideas with a non-annoying adult) might be just the thing. Feel free to contact me for more information.

Do you have a weekend routine? Tell me about it in the comments!

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