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How to Make a Better Homework Schedule for Your Family
Verywell / Zackary Angeline
Why Homework Schedules Are Effective
- Developing a Schedule
- Next in Back to School Planning Guide How to Help Your Kids Succeed in School
Do you frequently have homework struggles with your child or teen? Or, does your student procrastinate doing their work? Maybe they even fail to turn in assignments. If any of these scenarios resonate with you, a better homework schedule may help.
A regular homework schedule establishes predictable times when homework is to be completed. Once the homework schedule has been in place for a few weeks, you may even find your child will begin doing their homework without needing to be reminded—although you may still need to monitor their work progress.
If you're struggling with homework completion in your household, or if you're having daily battles about allotting the appropriate amount of time to homework, you're not alone. That's why educators recommend developing a homework schedule—with input from your kids.
Once you set a homework schedule, then there are no questions about when the work will be done. It also communicates clear expectations; having a homework schedule helps kids understand what is required of them. And following the schedule encourages them to develop a good work ethic.
Schedules also help prevent procrastination and instill good habits like completing work on time. Homework routines also improve study skills and encourage kids to plan ahead.
Other benefits include developing your child's work ethic and organizational abilities. By helping your child complete their work at regular intervals, you are modeling how to manage time and projects in the future. When you send them off to college , they will know how to pace their work so they can avoid all-nighters at the end of the semester.
How to Develop a Homework Schedule
To develop a homework schedule, start by talking with your kids. Get their input on how they would like to manage their time and incorporate their homework into their daily routine. A successful homework schedule allows kids to finish their work and also have some free time.
Give Kids an Option
If you ask kids when they want to do their homework, their first answer might be "Never" or "Later." But if you dig a little deeper, your child may tell you what matters to them as they plan their schedule. This information will help you avoid scheduling homework during their favorite television program or when they usually get online to play games with friends.
When you include your child in the decision-making process, you also will get more buy-in from them because they know that their concerns were heard. You don't have to give them their way, but at least considering what they have to say will let them feel included. After all, this homework schedule is about them completing their homework.
Allow for Free Time
Some kids can step through the front door and buckle down on their homework right away. When this happens, they reap the reward of getting their work done early and having the rest of the evening to do what they want. But most kids need to eat and decompress a bit before tackling their assignments.
As you develop your homework schedule, keep in mind your child has already spent at least six hours in class. And this time doesn't include getting to and from school or participation in extracurricular programs . Allow kids some free time before beginning their homework if that's what they need to unwind.
Establish a Timeline
Generally, you can expect about 10 minutes of homework per grade level of school. This means that a third-grade student will need about 30 minutes to complete homework. However, the amount of time needed can vary dramatically between students, teachers, and schools.
Find out how much time your child's teacher expects homework to take each evening. If your child takes a lot of time to complete their work or struggles with homework , talk with the teacher. Your child may need extra instruction on a task or tutoring assistance—or fewer homework assignments.
Pick a Homework Spot
Designate a comfortable and efficient spot for your kids to do their homework. This workspace should be well-lit, stocked with supplies , and quiet. The workspace should allow you to provide some supervision.
If you have multiple kids trying to complete their homework at one time, you may want to find a separate location for each child. Sometimes kids can complete their homework together at the kitchen table, but other times having siblings around can be distracting. Do what works best for your family.
Put It All Together
Now that you know what your child's needs and concerns are for finding a time to do homework, you need to come up with the actual plan. Creating a homework routine is really just one piece of creating a daily school year routine .
For the homework time itself, get it down on paper so you can see exactly what they will be doing and when they will be doing it. Do this for each day of the week if you have different activities on different weekdays. Students who are assigned larger projects will need to review their homework plans regularly to make adjustments as needed.
Expect your child to work consistently throughout the assigned time. Avoid having multiple homework sessions, such as one before dinner and a second one after dinner. Starting and stopping may mean children may spend more time getting into what they are doing than working continuously.
Once you have decided on a time to do homework, stick to the plan! It usually takes about three weeks for most children to really get into the habit of their new schedule.
If your child or teen has difficulty maintaining concentration for the length of time that their homework should take, then you may want to carefully consider breaking up the work to take advantage of the time when your child can focus.
This added step is especially important for children and teens with depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). They may benefit from multiple smaller work sessions and more frequent breaks.
Even though the idea behind creating a homework schedule is to get your child to work consistently and independently, you may need to look over their work when they are done. This is especially important for younger children.
Make sure they understand their assignments and that they completed a reasonable amount of work during the homework session. If you find your child is having trouble actually working during their homework time, troubleshoot to find out what might be the issue. Sometimes kids need extra help and other times they simply need more motivation to get their work done.
If you find that your child continues to struggle with homework even with a schedule in place, you might need to dig a little deeper. Consider discussing your child's issues with their teacher or pediatrician.
Sometimes kids are reluctant to complete their homework because of undiagnosed learning disabilities. It could be that your child struggles with reading comprehension or has a processing disorder. Or it could be that your child is struggling with a mental health issue like anxiety .
A Word From Verywell
Establishing a homework schedule allows children to build some important life skills that will help them as they navigate high school, college, and eventually the workforce. Practice is important when kids are learning new skills. So, having a nightly homework routine enhances your child's learning. Just be sure you aren't requiring homework time at the expense of being a kid. Having time to play is just as important to a child's development as learning new material.
National Institute of Mental Health. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder .
By Lisa Linnell-Olsen Lisa Linnell-Olsen has worked as a support staff educator, and is well-versed in issues of education policy and parenting issues.
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Family Focus Blog
Top family blog by Nashville mom blogger
How To Establish A Homework Routine
September 21, 2022 by Scarlet
The school year has started. So has the battle to get energetic kids, ready to play after a long day of school, to sit down and do their homework. This battle can be particularly difficult with restless children. Here are some homework tips that many parents have found helpful to establish a homework routine that works.
6 Homework Tips for Parents with Restless Kids
1. Create A Homework Routine
A homework routine is a set schedule designed to help the child know what to expect. A homework routine makes things easier by creating a habit of doing homework at a specific time. The elements that make up a productive homework routine should include a start time, breaks at regular intervals, and a designated area in which to do the homework. This homework space may be the kitchen table, dining room table, or a desk in their room as long as it is clean and stocked with school supplies.
For younger children in elementary school the homework routine should be designed by a parent. By middle school the child may want to take the reins on their homework session with a little follow up from a parent. In high school, the homework routine should be designed by the student. However, if a parent notices grades dropping, they make need to make adjustments. For example, remove screen time from the school week if grades aren’t up to par.
Many children will want to have a break after school before starting homework assignments. After sitting still at school all day, I can see why. So allowing them an hour after they get home to play outdoors and have a snack is a great way to make sure they are prepared to start their homework. In this way, they will have expelled excess energy and they won’t have a hungry stomach bothering them during homework time.
Homework Routine Example
3:30 Child arrives home from school. 3:30-4:30 Snack time with active play outdoors when possible. 4:30 Child sits down at designated homework station. 4:30-5:00 Complete assignments. 5:00-5:15 Break 5:15-5:45 Finish any work due the next day and if there is time left, work on any long-term assignments.
The above homework schedule is for younger kids who can’t sit still and concentrate for long periods of time. Hopefully, they will complete homework within that time. If not, they can continue to do 30 minutes of homework and then take a break until complete. I would not let them play video games during their breaks. Save that type of sedentary activity as their reward for finishing completely.
A good homework routine should also include the elements below.
2. Help Kids Release Some Energy
Whether a child has a lot of energy or struggles with paying attention, providing an outlet for that energy will help avoid their impulse to get up and walk away. This can do wonders at helping a child focus on his or her school work. Try having your student sit on an exercise ball instead of a chair at the desk or table. Another option would be to tie an exercise band on the desk or chair where the student can pull and play with it with their feet. Or try giving them some chewing gum, which has been found to organize the nervous system. Whatever you try, make sure it is a small movement that can be done subconsciously, so your student is able to give full attention to their homework.
3. Provide Motivation
We all need motivation to get tasks completed, especially if the task seems difficult or boring. Avoid bribing or begging your child to do their homework. Rather, set clear ground rules for when they get home from school. For example, they can play with their friends after their homework is done. If your son or daughter seems to struggle with time management in particular, try setting a timer for 30 minutes. Then ask them to see how much they can get done before the timer goes off. When trying this approach, be sure the quality of the work doesn’t suffer. The time limit should serve as a motivator to focus and work in an efficient manner.
4. Be Available
Frustration at not understanding a homework assignment or being unable to get help can lead to stress and feelings of helplessness. The best way to help with this is to be available to your student as they are doing homework. In this way, they can ask questions and get help when they need it. If your child is unwilling to accept your help, they may benefit from a tutor . Or they may want to call a homework buddy who can answer their questions.
5. Tips For Focusing On Homework: Limit Distractions
Distractions are particularly problematic for kids with ADHD or other learning disabilities . Try to set aside a quiet room with few visual distractions for your child to work in. Classical music and white noise has been found to be helpful in some situations. For teenagers, take away the cellphone and social media until their homework is completed. Giving students a snack with protein and complex carbs will keep them to focus on school work not an empty stomach. Most importantly, when you establish a homework routine, keep the TV off.
6. Adapt to Your Child’s Needs
Every child learns differently, so the most important thing to remember is to adapt to your child’s needs when figuring out how to help establish a homework routine. Perhaps your child would benefit from online tutoring or educational math game apps if they enjoy computer games. In addition, talk with your child’s teacher about the homework load. Sometimes the amount of time a teacher is thinking an assignment will take ends up being twice as long, so let them know if it is getting to be too much. For students with special needs, a continuing conversation with the teacher as well as counselors will go a long way to ensuring a happy school year both for the parents and for the child.
Gen Z is known as the “digital generation” and I think we can all see as parents how much they rely on devices. However, not surprisingly, Gen Z still sees value in using both analog and digital tools when it comes to learning and education. According to the Post-it® Brand Study, 93% of Gen Z believe students who write things down on paper get better grades. I have to agree from my own personal experience and from working with my kids to prepare for tests. We find that writing information down helps commit it to memory much better than just reading or saying it.
Conclusion on Tips For Getting Young Kids To Do Their Homework
I hope you found these homework tips for parents helpful when assisting your child to create a positive homework experience. Working to establish a homework routine helps your child know what to expect and when. This helps them to create healthy habits with knowing that work comes before screen time but that active breaks are important too.
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Alish shaikh says
September 24, 2022 at 6:05 am
Hi Thanks for this very extensive list of advice, tips, and insights. Keep it up.
Regards Alish Shaikh
© Scarlet Paolicchi and Family Focus Blog, 2010-2023. Short excerpts of this family blog may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Family Focus Blog with link back to the original content. Duplicating a whole post is strictly prohibited.
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Strategies to make homework go more smoothly.
Routines and incentive systems to help kids succeed
Writer: Peg Dawson, EdD, NCSP
Clinical Expert: Peg Dawson, EdD, NCSP
Here is the best guide to helping kids do homework successfully that we’ve seen, published by the National Association of School Psychologists on their website, NASPonline.org . Our thanks to NASP for sharing it with us.
There are two key strategies parents can draw on to reduce homework hassles. The first is to establish clear routines around homework, including when and where homework gets done and setting up daily schedules for homework. The second is to build in rewards or incentives to use with children for whom “good grades” is not a sufficient reward for doing homework.
Tasks are easiest to accomplish when tied to specific routines. By establishing daily routines for homework completion, you will not only make homework go more smoothly, but you will also be fostering a sense of order your child can apply to later life, including college and work.
Step 1. Find a location in the house where homework will be done. The right location will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom. It is a quiet location, away from the hubbub of family noise. Other children become too distracted by the things they keep in their bedroom and do better at a place removed from those distractions, like the dining room table. Some children need to work by themselves. Others need to have parents nearby to help keep them on task and to answer questions when problems arise. Ask your child where the best place is to work. Both you and your child need to discuss pros and cons of different settings to arrive at a mutually agreed upon location.
Step 2. Set up a homework center. Once you and your child have identified a location, fix it up as a home office/homework center. Make sure there is a clear workspace large enough to set out all the materials necessary for completing assignments. Outfit the homework center with the kinds of supplies your child is most likely to need, such as pencils, pens, colored markers, rulers, scissors, a dictionary and thesaurus, graph paper, construction paper, glue and cellophane tape, lined paper, a calculator, spell checker, and, depending on the age and needs of your child, a computer or laptop. If the homework center is a place that will be used for other things (such as the dining room table), then your child can keep the supplies in a portable crate or bin. If possible, the homework center should include a bulletin board that can hold a monthly calendar on which your child can keep track of longterm assignments. Allowing children some leeway in decorating the homework center can help them feel at home there, but you should be careful that it does not become too cluttered with distracting materials.
Step 3. Establish a homework time. Your child should get in the habit of doing homework at the same time every day. The time may vary depending on the individual child. Some children need a break right after school to get some exercise and have a snack. Others need to start homework while they are still in a school mode (i.e., right after school when there is still some momentum left from getting through the day). In general, it may be best to get homework done either before dinner or as early in the evening as the child can tolerate. The later it gets, the more tired the child becomes and the more slowly the homework gets done.
Step 4. Establish a daily homework schedule. In general, at least into middle school, the homework session should begin with your sitting down with your child and drawing up a homework schedule. You should review all the assignments and make sure your child understands them and has all the necessary materials. Ask your child to estimate how long it will take to complete each assignment. Then ask when each assignment will get started. If your child needs help with any assignment , then this should be determined at the beginning so that the start times can take into account parent availability. A Daily Homework Planner is included at the end of this handout and contains a place for identifying when breaks may be taken and what rewards may be earned.
Many children who are not motivated by the enjoyment of doing homework are motivated by the high grade they hope to earn as a result of doing a quality job. Thus, the grade is an incentive, motivating the child to do homework with care and in a timely manner. For children who are not motivated by grades, parents will need to look for other rewards to help them get through their nightly chores. Incentive systems fall into two categories: simple and elaborate.
Simple incentive systems. The simplest incentive system is reminding the child of a fun activity to do when homework is done. It may be a favorite television show, a chance to spend some time with a video or computer game, talking on the telephone or instant messaging, or playing a game with a parent. This system of withholding fun things until the drudgery is over is sometimes called Grandma’s Law because grandmothers often use it quite effectively (“First take out the trash, then you can have chocolate chip cookies.”). Having something to look forward to can be a powerful incentive to get the hard work done. When parents remind children of this as they sit down at their desks they may be able to spark the engine that drives the child to stick with the work until it is done.
Elaborate incentive systems. These involve more planning and more work on the part of parents but in some cases are necessary to address more significant homework problems. More complex incentives systems might include a structure for earning points that could be used to “purchase” privileges or rewards or a system that provides greater reward for accomplishing more difficult homework tasks. These systems work best when parents and children together develop them. Giving children input gives them a sense of control and ownership, making the system more likely to succeed. We have found that children are generally realistic in setting goals and deciding on rewards and penalties when they are involved in the decision-making process.
Building in breaks. These are good for the child who cannot quite make it to the end without a small reward en route. When creating the daily homework schedule, it may be useful with these children to identify when they will take their breaks. Some children prefer to take breaks at specific time intervals (every 15 minutes), while others do better when the breaks occur after they finish an activity. If you use this approach, you should discuss with your child how long the breaks will last and what will be done during the breaks (get a snack, call a friend, play one level on a video game). The Daily Homework Planner includes sections where breaks and end-of-homework rewards can be identified.
Building in choice. This can be an effective strategy for parents to use with children who resist homework. Choice can be incorporated into both the order in which the child agrees to complete assignments and the schedule they will follow to get the work done. Building in choice not only helps motivate children but can also reduce power struggles between parents and children.
Developing Incentive Systems
Step 1. Describe the problem behaviors. Parents and children decide which behaviors are causing problems at homework time. For some children putting homework off to the last minute is the problem; for others, it is forgetting materials or neglecting to write down assignments. Still others rush through their work and make careless mistakes, while others dawdle over assignments, taking hours to complete what should take only a few minutes. It is important to be as specific as possible when describing the problem behaviors. The problem behavior should be described as behaviors that can be seen or heard; for instance, complains about h omework or rushes through homework, making many mistakes are better descriptors than has a bad attitude or is lazy.
Step 2. Set a goal. Usually the goal relates directly to the problem behavior. For instance, if not writing down assignments is the problem, the goal might be: “Joe will write down his assignments in his assignment book for every class.”
Step 3. Decide on possible rewards and penalties. Homework incentive systems work best when children have a menu of rewards to choose from, since no single reward will be attractive for long. We recommend a point system in which points can be earned for the goal behaviors and traded in for the reward the child wants to earn. The bigger the reward, the more points the child will need to earn it. The menu should include both larger, more expensive rewards that may take a week or a month to earn and smaller, inexpensive rewards that can be earned daily. It may also be necessary to build penalties into the system. This is usually the loss of a privilege (such as the chance to watch a favorite TV show or the chance to talk on the telephone to a friend).
Once the system is up and running, and if you find your child is earning more penalties than rewards, then the program needs to be revised so that your child can be more successful. Usually when this kind of system fails, we think of it as a design failure rather than the failure of the child to respond to rewards. It may be a good idea if you are having difficulty designing a system that works to consult a specialist, such as a school psychologist or counselor, for assistance.
Step 4. Write a homework contract. The contract should say exactly what the child agrees to do and exactly what the parents’ roles and responsibilities will be. When the contract is in place, it should reduce some of the tension parents and kids often experience around homework. For instance, if part of the contract is that the child will earn a point for not complaining about homework, then if the child does complain, this should not be cause for a battle between parent and child: the child simply does not earn that point. Parents should also be sure to praise their children for following the contract. It will be important for parents to agree to a contract they can live with; that is, avoiding penalties they are either unable or unwilling to impose (e.g., if both parents work and are not at home, they cannot monitor whether a child is beginning homework right after school, so an alternative contract may need to be written).
We have found that it is a rare incentive system that works the first time. Parents should expect to try it out and redesign it to work the kinks out. Eventually, once the child is used to doing the behaviors specified in the contract, the contract can be rewritten to work on another problem behavior. Your child over time may be willing to drop the use of an incentive system altogether. This is often a long-term goal, however, and you should be ready to write a new contract if your child slips back to bad habits once a system is dropped.
Click here to download the homework planner and incentive sheet .
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How to Plan a Homework Schedule
Last Updated: August 12, 2023 Approved
This article was co-authored by Ronitte Libedinsky, MS . Ronitte Libedinsky is an Academic Tutor and the Founder of Brighter Minds SF, a San Francisco, California based company that provides one-on-one and small group tutoring. Specializing in tutoring mathematics (pre-algebra, algebra I/II, geometry, pre-calculus, calculus) and science (chemistry, biology), Ronitte has over 10 years of experience tutoring to middle school, high school, and college students. She also tutors in SSAT, Terra Nova, HSPT, SAT, and ACT test prep. Ronitte holds a BS in Chemistry from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MS in Chemistry from Tel Aviv University. There are 7 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. In this case, 100% of readers who voted found the article helpful, earning it our reader-approved status. This article has been viewed 473,755 times.
It feels like homework never stops getting piled on, and keeping track of it all can feel a little chaotic. That’s where a homework schedule comes in. With a good schedule, you won’t have to worry about missing homework assignments or not having enough time to finish them, and it’s surprisingly easy to put one together. Not sure where to start? Don’t worry—we’ll walk you through what to do step-by-step below!
Setting Up a Homework Schedule
Creating a Homework Space
Understanding What Needs To Get Done
- 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 and ask if you do not understand (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 complete your assignment.)
- Due date of the assignment.
Getting All of Your Homework Done
- To solve this problem, if you cannot meet all the deadlines, use a static priority rate-monotonic policy. Find the course that releases new homework the most frequently, and list it the highest (do the work first), and so forth. This is mathematically optimal among all static-priority scheduling policies. In other words, if ANY static priority scheme can meet all the deadlines, the rate-monotonic static priority scheme will meet all the deadlines, too. When the static priority scheme misses deadlines, it is deterministic - the lowest priority class assignments will be skipped, so it behaves predictably when you are overloaded. If certain assignments have the same due date, then start with the one(s) that are hardest or will take the longest.
- If you have a five-page English paper due on Friday, evenly spread the total amount of hours you believe it is going to take to complete the paper between each day.
Homework Planner Template
- Avoid distractions such as TV, video games, phone conversation, or surfing the internet. You must fully devote your schedule to doing this. That means turning off all electronics except your lamp , clock , and room light, and, if needed, your computer. You may even want to turn off your phone. Thanks Helpful 0 Not Helpful 0
You Might Also Like
- ↑ https://www.wssd.k12.pa.us/SettingUpaHomeworkSchedule.aspx
- ↑ https://childmind.org/article/strategies-to-make-homework-go-more-smoothly/
- ↑ https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/homework.html
- ↑ Ronitte Libedinsky, MS. Academic Tutor. Expert Interview. 26 May 2020.
- ↑ https://www.understood.org/en/school-learning/learning-at-home/homework-study-skills/homework-strategies
- ↑ https://www.lifehack.org/articles/featured/6-proven-ways-to-make-new-habits-stick.html
- ↑ https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/happiness-in-world/201203/how-prevent-procrastination
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6 ways to establish a productive homework routine
Assistant Professor of College Learning Strategies and Instruction, Syracuse University
Janine L. Nieroda-Madden does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.
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Homework. Whether you’re a fifth-grader or a freshman in college, the mere thought of homework can be overwhelming. And actually doing homework can be quite difficult. But homework doesn’t have to be something a student dreads.
As a former high school English teacher and researcher who specializes in what it takes to make it through college – and a co-author of a forthcoming revised edition of a book about academic success – I’ve studied homework since 2010. Here are six ways I believe homework can be made more manageable and valuable, whether you’re in elementary school, high school or graduate school.
1. Set priorities
Establish a list of priorities based on the class syllabus or assignment list. This can be helpful for tackling difficult tasks, creating motivation and activating your sense of control and independence when it comes to learning. The priority list helps maintain goals and gives you a sense satisfaction to cross things off the list as they are completed.
2. Tackle difficult tasks first
Start with your most difficult assignments first in order to make the most of your energy level and to focus at the beginning of a work session. You can attend to the easier or less time-consuming assignments at the end of a work session.
3. Break tasks down to smaller steps
You may not know how to start a major task, which could trigger procrastination or feelings of defeat. To guard against this, break major tasks into three or four smaller steps. Within one homework session, you can feel a greater sense of accomplishment by completing each small step toward the larger whole. In some cases, you might be able to spread these tasks over the course of a week.
4. Create evidence of learning
You will get more out of the time you spend reading, reviewing notes or otherwise “studying” if you create something in the process. For example, creating flash cards, a graphic organizer, chart, or notes with bullet points can help you become an active learner rather than a passive one. Organize the tools you create with the homework assignment by date and topic so that you can review those items to prepare for quizzes, tests or projects.
5. Build a network of support
If certain homework problems could not be solved and you’re stuck in a rut, figure out what’s confusing you and write or record your thoughts. Jot questions down and be as specific as possible in order to seek out additional support from teachers or tutors. The more you can identify sources of confusion, the more you can proactively reach out to your support network – teachers, tutors and others – in order to get additional help.
6. Revisit goals and set new ones
At the start of each homework session, establish goals for completion of your tasks or assignments. Revisit the goals at the end of the session and acknowledge a sense of completion. This goal-setting process builds confidence over time and helps you realize their potential even when faced with difficulties. A productive homework routine will help you realize that learning is an ongoing journey. The journey may be difficult but getting organized will make it as stress-free as possible.
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