Time Management for Students
Time management….it can be a challenge for adults, so it’s no wonder that students have difficulty!
When middle school students start to find greater demands on their time with (possibly) more classes and more activities, managing everything can get stressful!
And often, the extra activities or responsibilities end up being excuses for not finishing school work.
In my early years of teaching, I didn’t always know what to say when my 5th grade students told me they didn’t have time to do their homework (other than something like, “You must have had some time between 4:00 and 9:00…”).
There were all kinds of reasons for not finishing work
- Sports practice or game
- Instrument lessons
- A brother’s or sister’s game/practice/event of some kind
- Parents took them shopping or out to eat
At that time I had one child (she was 2 when I started teaching), so I didn’t have the perspective of parents of school-age children – making sure I was getting my kids to their activities, getting all the house-related things done, and also making sure kids were completing their homework.
This made it a little difficult for me to relate to the students’ situations, but I tried to help them think about how much time they did have to do their work.
Time for Time Management
Time Management for Students: Create a Week at a Glance
- The student can see that they have a chunk of time from 3:30-5:00 and then 7:00-9:00.
- If homework completion can fit in those time slots, great! They can plan to use that time wisely.
- If it’s not enough time, then they need to use another strategy to get things done.
One of the fun parts of using the calendar/planner is the color-coding! When I used this for my own planning, I color-coded according to person. My son was green, my oldest daughter orange, youngest purple, I was blue, and husband was red.
Student Time Management: No ‘Wasted’ Time
- When one of my three children had practice, the others brought any work they had to do. Sometimes homework was completed sitting on a blanket in the grass or sitting in the bleachers. Sometimes it was completed in the car while we waited.
- Do distractions occur when homework is done this way? Yes, they sometimes do. But, to me, using that time to work was better than losing an hour or two.
I also suggest that students try to study while they’re driving to an event.
What can you do in the car?
- They can read over notes and quiz themselves.
- If there are several people in the car, someone can quiz the student.
- Students can quiz the driver if they’re the only ones in the car, or explain information to whoever is driving. This is a great way for a student to be sure his knowledge is solid.
It’s a good idea for students to put upcoming tests on their calendars. Then they can work backwards to schedule their study time. They could also label the driving time as study time.
Projects should go on the calendar too, so students can again work backwards to fit in the necessary time to complete them.
The great thing about a week at a glance like this is that students don’t have to depend on someone buying them a planner or printing out pages for them. They can write out their own schedule on their own paper and design it any way they’d like. Then they can post in it their room, on the frig, or keep it in a school binder.
As I mentioned, in the early days, I didn’t quite know how to respond to students who didn’t have time to do their work.
But now, time management is something I teach every year, to help avoid those “I didn’t have time because….” statements.
What time management strategies work best for your students (or children)?