Parents are always concerned with their students’ progress. Every student is different but there are benchmarks to look out for so that you can be aware and guide your student in their development and learning.
At this grade level, children should begin asking “why” questions. If they have learned a particular topic in class, you can ask them why questions about what they learned. The response they give does not have to be complex but should reveal that they remember one or two concepts. Children should be able to sit down to do any homework assignments for up to 15 minutes with you beside or nearby.
First graders take on the ability to see a new world of concepts and symbols. In school and at home the lessons and homework should be seen as exploration. If the activities are fun and interesting, your student should be able to do homework for approximately 15-20 minutes with a break if needed. Your child should remember to bring home homework but may need encouragement to put it in their backpack or near the front door to remember to take it to school the next day.
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In the second grade, students should be able to write basic sentences and be able to read complete sentences without needing to figure out or question what each word means. Your child should be able to read out loud and tell you what her homework is. It is still important to be available if she asks questions but a confident child at this stage may begin homework with a fairly good understanding of what to do. In the classroom, they will be absorbing large amounts of information. At home, they should be able to do homework for about 20 minutes.
At this grade level, children should be able to follow directions for homework. If they have difficulty, it may be because of rushing to read instructions. Third grade students should take their time to read, focus, and be sure that they understand the instructions. The third grader may still require a parent to be nearby if they need help deciphering a question. A third grader should be able to sit and do homework for 30 minutes before needing a break.
In the fourth grade, your child should be developing some strategies for learning and studying to ensure they can stretch themselves. For example, they should be able to compare today’s homework with yesterday’s homework and make inferences if they are not sure how to proceed. Getting clues from context helps them. Students at this level should be able to study for 30-40 minutes at a time.
Your 5th grade student should move beyond comparison and using context, to be able to figure out problems in their different subjects. They should also be incorporating their interests and personality into various subjects, in particular ones with writing. Students at this level should be able to study for up to 45 minutes with one or two breaks as necessary.
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Your 6th grader should be skilled in being a self-starter with homework. A routine should be established and outside of major distractions, they should tackle their school work on their own. They should be encouraged to ask for help. Students at this level may study for approximately 45 minutes and may begin to do “extra” research on their own for topics that they really find interesting.
Children at this stage of development are faced with more complex and demanding homework. You may have them asking you more frequently for help. They will in some ways be relearning how to focus as they face potential distractions from social situations at school or even puberty. Students at this age may need help self-regulating their study time but should be able to study for 45 minutes to 1 hour with breaks as needed.
Children in the 8th grade would have similar challenges as they did in the 7th grade; however, with time they should be better at self-regulating against distractions and be able to study for 1 hour or more with breaks as needed. Despite their young age, some signs of maturity as a thinker and as a responsible individual should be present. At this grade level, children should also be trying to study more in preparation for high school.
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In high school, children should be self-regulating in terms of being on time for class, managing their study time, and completing tasks fully and completely. Most likely they will not ask parents for help but may share what their challenges are. High school students should be self-starters, have strategies for completing tasks, and have a fairly predictable routine both during the school week and weekends that help them stay on track with the goal of doing well. High school students, though not fully mature, should be clearly developing the skills of consistency and reliability while solving problems independently. During the high school years, they may focus for very long periods of time in order to get larger, and often simultaneous projects done. At this stage, you may be able to see a glimpse into your child’s future in the way they conduct themselves, and the “high school skills” that they use may be very similar to how they will apply themselves as working adults.
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In the early years, reading to and with your children as well as showing interest in and encouraging your child to study are the most important things you can do to help ensure your children have good study habits. At all grade levels, showing consistent concern on your part will help them have consistency on their part. Where you may be concerned that they are not meeting the benchmarks above, creating a plan with a tutor can help your child reach their academic potential and develop study skills that will help them in all areas of their life.