Homework Help for Highly Disorganized Students

By Huntington Learning Center

Organization is something that many students find challenging. However, if you have some students who struggle with it so much that their homework is often unfinished, incorrect, sloppy, or all of the above, the problem needs correction—before it worsens. Here are a few homework tips for students to help them become more organized and methodical in their process:  

  • Create a homework routine. It should go without saying, but many students need to hear it repeatedly: a homework routine will make them more successful. Talk with students about establishing an after-school schedule that allows them to study and do homework when they are most focused. Many students are busy with activities outside of school, so it’s okay if the schedule fluctuates a little, but the key is to have a plan going into each night. Students should prioritize their daily assignments and set goals for each block of homework time.  
  • Break down large assignments into smaller tasks.  For bigger projects or assignments, show your students how to create a project plan that lays out tasks, start dates and deadlines. The more specific, the better—especially for any procrastinators. So, a research paper could be broken down into many separate to-dos:
    • Select topic
    • Create essay outline
    • Research sources
    • Narrow down sources/check in with the teacher
    • Revise outline
    • Rough draft
    • Revise the draft/have a peer review
    • Second draft
    • Revise the second draft
    • Final draft
    • Proofread
    • Turn in 

Once a large project is broken down into steps like this, the student should assign dates for when to start and complete each. Students can take a similar approach when studying for big tests. Since shorter study sessions are more effective than longer, uninterrupted homework marathons, advise them to create a study schedule and stick to it.  

  • Use a planner or homework chart. Even though they get less homework, younger students can benefit from using a homework chart or checklist. This helps establish good habits like writing down assignments and time management. If you teach older students, you already know that a planner is very helpful for managing time, minimizing stress and achieving academic goals. Emphasize the importance of a planner or planner app and offer suggestions on how to use one effectively. Encourage students to write down homework each day for every class (during class) and keep the planner up to date with test dates, project due dates, reminders of upcoming deadlines or responsibilities, and other important tasks. Adding things like their volunteer or work schedule (if applicable) and sports/activity practice and game times is also a great idea.  

Poor organization and weak homework habits interfere with students’ learning and success in school. If you’ve tried to share homework tips for parents, and your advice to students doesn’t seem to make a noticeable difference, Huntington can help. We work with students who need homework help and additional support developing reliable study skills and organizational strategies. Parents can call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN for more information about our customized tutoring programs for students of all ages.