In an ongoing series in this column, we highlight one of Search Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets that have a powerful positive impact on young people’s growth. These 40 assets comprise qualities, experiences, and relationships that help young people grow up healthy, caring, and responsible. Asset #23 is Homework.

The school year is well under way and the carefree days of summer are sadly behind us. Perhaps the most dreaded part of going back to school is homework. Most students would rather play video games or hang out with their friends than sit down to read The Odyssey or work on math problems. But any goal worth achieving takes hard work. As for school, this means work that takes place both in the classroom and at home. Doing homework not only helps students reach their academic goals, but it also teaches them to follow directions, manage their time, and work independently.

Homework becomes easier as students master basic skills including organization, time management and prioritization. Today, this includes putting down smartphones and devices and focusing solely on the work at hand. Having a quiet study area, free of distractions, is important. Checking in from time to time to see if they need a break or have any questions, is also important. Supporting and encouraging their efforts when their work gets tough is probably the most critical. Keep in mind, the habits they hone now will serve them for the rest of their lives.

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Tizzie Mantione