Homework Monster

Posted: March 11, 2014 in Uncategorized
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So, today I read that the University of Phoenix ran a poll that found that the average teen has 3.5 hours of homework a night. That’s outrageous. Assuming I had spent the time to do all my homework in High School, which is a poor assumption, it surely wouldn’t have amounted to such a number. And other than a cultural fun-fact or piece of useless trivia, this is also a professional concern of mine. If your teens are like mine, there are soccer practices and dance troupes, boy scouts and after school jobs, friends and hobbies…all of which takes time away from youth ministry.

So, assuming that the average student, with the average 3.5 hours, attends the usual 5 days a week, that’s 17.5 hours a week (I used a calculator, so it must be true), and though some have less than that, some have more. That’s a part-time job! Add that to the 40+ hours of at-school time, and it’s no wonder that teens are running out of hours in the day.

Short of calling up the school board and complaining, there’s nothing we can do, right? Well, actually, there are a few things you can do.

First, be understanding. The last thing we should do as youth workers and Christian leaders is guilt these busy teens. Even though it an be frustrating, be able to accept homework as a reason they can’t be where you would like them to be.

Second. help to teach time management. Model setting goals, being on time, and working in a logical progression. We use activities to develop leadership and foster team work, why not also add a component of using our time wisely?

Third, look for opportunities to help. Once, in exchange for a youth’s attendance to youth fellowship, I promised to use every one of her vocabulary words in our lesson that evening. It was unusual and it made me think outside the box, but the youth was present that Sunday night AND passed her vocab. test. Ask teens if they need help. If logical, set up tutoring. Get creative. The problems are specific and unique, so should the solutions.

Fourth, maximize the time you DO have. If you only see a teen once a month, be sure to connect with that teen. Create events during spring breaks, winter breaks, long weekends, summertime…find when the teens are available.

Homework is a part of teen life, which makes it part of our life. We can’t get around it, unless we can convince everyone to drop out and do youth group full time, which is frowned upon (apparently). Be understanding, model time management, get creative and make the most of every moment you get to work with your teens. Good luck!


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