How To-42: "How to Plan a Homework Schedule"

How to Plan a Homework Schedule

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If you have an overwhelming amount of homework to do and you feel you can’t get it done because you can’t keep track of it, here’s how to develop a plan that will break down your tasks into smaller, more manageable units. With a little organization and discipline, you can get all of your homework done on time, every day.


  1. Write down your assignments accurately and promptly when they are given. You can’t plan your homework time effectively if you don’t know exactly what needs to get done. Record the following information:
    • The subject or course in which the work is assigned (for example, Spanish, algebra, French or English)
    • Know what you’re expected to hand in or do (for example, turn in an essay, develop a PowerPoint presentation, or take a test.)
    • The details of your assignments (for example, double spaced or single spaced, blue ink or black).
    • Page numbers (which pages you need to read, study, or refer to in order to complete your assignment.)
    • Due date of the assignment.
  2. Estimate how much time will be needed to complete each assignment. Be realistic. It’s better to block out more time than less. If you finish early, you can use your bonus time for another subject. Remember that if you have extra time left over, you can reward yourself by doing something other than homework.
  3. Determine how much time you have available for homework after school for each day of the week. For example: Monday – 1 hour, Tuesday – 1 1/2 hours, Wednesday – 1/2 hour, etc. Obviously, on days where you have other planned activities, whether it’s an extracurricular activity or chores or quality time with your family, you will have less time for homework.
  4. Break down your homework time. Look at your assignments and consider how much time you need to devote to each. Then find time in your homework schedule to get it done, preferably a day early. If you have a 5-page English paper due on Friday, for example, and you know it’s going to take you at most three hours to complete it, then spend one hour on that particular assignment on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.
  5. Write in break times. This will stop you from getting too overwhelmed and frustrated during long stretches of homework time and will also help you to keep your mind focused. A ten minute break for each hour of homework done is a good guideline. Use this time to stretch, wash your face, walk around the block, unload the dishwasher for your mom, or get something to drink, or do anything that won’t tempt you to delay your return to homework. Do not extend the time you take to refuel (such as getting your juice) and do not start with activities that relate to goofing off.
  6. Stick with it. Once you have your schedule, follow it, or else all the planning in the world is useless.


  • Schedule the hardest subject first, when your energy is highest. After that is done, everything else will feel like going downhill.
  • If you find that you don’t have enough time to get all your homework done even when you stick to your schedule, look for more time that you can devote to homework by replacing other regular activities. Instead of spending an hour chatting on the computer with your friends, for instance, limit yourself very strictly to twenty minutes. But if you are still struggling even after you’ve devoted every available minute to homework, talk to your parents or your teacher about it.
  • Avoid distractions such as TV, video games, phone conversation, surfing the Web, etc. You must fully devote your schedule to doing this. That means turning off every electronic device except your lamp, clock, and room light, and, if needed, your computer. You may even want to turn off your phone.

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