Dear American Girl,
I have a super-busy schedule filled with sports events, club meetings, and lots of homework. I know homework should be a top priority, but I always feel as if I need to rush through it to get to a piano lesson or soccer game. What can I do to make more time for my homework, and how can I keep my mind focused on what I'm doing?
Here's your advice:
Choose a spot in your house, such as your bedroom or a quiet corner, that's just for doing your homework. Make sure the area is free of noise, TVs, and computers. You'll be able to focus more on your homework.
-Hannah, age 11, Ohio
Divide your homework into chunks instead of doing it all at once. For example, if you have 15 minutes between your piano lesson and getting ready for soccer, finish an easy math work sheet. Do the harder assignments after dinner when you might have more time.
-Addisyn, age 13, California
Make a "to do" list and write it on a whiteboard in your room. As you complete each task, check it off. It'll make you feel good to see all of the things you are accomplishing.
-Grace, age 10, Ohio
Make the most of your study halls during school. That way, most—or even all—of your homework can be done by the time you get home.
-An American Girl fan, age 11, Pennsylvania
Do your homework in 30-minute sections. When time's up, practice the piano or read a book for your book club for 15 minutes. Then it's time for homework again. Continue this pattern until your work is finished.
-Lauren, age 12, Wisconsin
Always carry a pencil with you. That way, you can work on your homework when you're on the go.
-Isabella, age 9, Georgia
Since you have to be at lessons or practices at certain times, set a time for your homework, too. Schedule a specific time for your work, such as 7:00 p.m., and don't be late. Think of it as another appointment in your day.
-Emili, age 12, Ohio
Just slow down, take a deep breath, and gradually make your way through each activity. If you feel less stressed, it might be easier to do your homework.
-Gracie, age 13, South Carolina
Set a timer for 30 minutes, and tell yourself that you will do nothing but homework during that time. You'll be surprised at how much work you'll finish!
-Lauren, age 10, California
If you choose to drop one or more activities from your schedule, think about fun things you can do during the weekend to take their place. You could start a book club with your friends or join a community volleyball league that meets on Saturdays.
-Addison, age 11, Virginia
If you are sitting around during soccer practice or waiting for your piano teacher to arrive, use that time wisely. Do some simple homework, such as memorizing multiplication tables or practicing spelling words.
-Aviva, age 13, New York
Each morning before school, sit down and write out a schedule for the day. Plan to do your homework during free periods that day, jot down the times for practices or lessons, and write "homework" in any leftover time slots. Be sure to schedule a little relaxation time for yourself, too.
-Annie, age 12, Tennessee
By giving yourself more time to do your homework, you might see an improvement in your grades. When you get five A's on tests or assignments, reward yourself. Go to the mall with your mom or buy some new beads to make a bracelet. Giving yourself a reward might help you feel more motivated.
-Anna, age 11, Virginia
Downsizing your after-school activities is a good thing—you'll make more time for your homework, and you eventually may choose to do a new activity that doesn't require so much of your time.
-Elizabeth, age 12, Georgia
Look at your schedule and decide which things are most important to you. Do you love playing the piano but feel as if you can give up an after-school club? Do only the really important things, and you'll have enough time to do your homework.
-Sierra, age 9, Virginia
When you sit down to do your homework, turn on some relaxing music. The soothing sounds might help you focus.
-Alissa, age 13, California
It sounds as if you're feeling overwhelmed. Talk to your parents about cutting one or more of your activities. Together, decide which commitment in your schedule you can do without.
-Lydia, age 11, Canada
I'm in lots of sports and activities, too, and a planner always helps me with my time management. I make a daily list of my assignments, and I rate them from easiest to hardest. Try your best with your homework, and don't be afraid to ask your teachers for help.
-Savannah, age 13, New Mexico