Strong study habits lead to good grades and lower stress. Here are some handy tips to optimize homework time.

Designate a homework-friendly space. There should be a place set aside to complete homework with good lighting, WiFi access (if necessary) and paper, pens and pencils handy. This area should be free from distractions such as TVs, loud music, phone calls or disruptive siblings who may break concentration.

Use JupiterEd. JupiterEd is a great tool to help students and parents plan homework during the week. Review the calendar weekly to know what the homework load will be each night. Help students plan their study time and space out assignments. For example, if there are three papers, two tests and a quiz on Friday, start the work on Monday and tackle a reasonable portion each night until the assignments are complete. Waiting until Thursday night could be a disaster.

Schedule Study Time. Students should be able to complete their homework before 9:00pm Monday through Thursday if planned well. Homework should be started when students arrive home and finished as quickly as possible. Don’t allow time for electronics or play until all homework is finished.

We recommend allowing snacks and a five-minute break for every twenty-five minutes. This technique, called the Pomodoro Method, is used in business to maintain focus and efficiency. Students can use a Pomodoro App on the iPad to track their study time.

Don’t overload your schedule with too many after-school activities, which may distract from academics. Extracurricular activities are exactly that: extra. They should never take priority over mastering the curriculum.

Follow The Honor Code. Students are expected to do their own homework. Parents and guardians can explain concepts and answer questions, but they should not be “doing” the students’ work. Homework assignments are intended to reinforce student learning.

Sleep. A good night’s sleep is critical for success in school. Set household rules to turn off all electronics at 9:00pm. Explain to students that is to rude to call, text or email friends after 9:00pm. Students need eight to twelve hours of sleep a night. Setting up a schedule which allows a good night’s sleep will greatly improve students’ ability to succeed.

Academic Success & Tutors. The FCS Academic Success Program is free to all full-paying Middle and High School students and available for a nominal fee for all others. Students meet from 2:45pm to 4:15pm, Monday through Thursday for specialized help. The school can also arrange for teachers to tutor specific subjects. Please call the school office at 703-759-5100 for details.