Break It Down: Tips for Tackling Big Projects

It’s every parent’s nightmare: your child comes home with a big project that has a due date a few weeks off. You know that if left to their own devices, your child would start a few days (or the night) before it’s due. However, everyone knows that this scenario doesn’t end well. Instead, work with your child to plan ahead so they can do a little bit each day and not be stressing when the final project is due.

· Plan in reverse.

Start with when the project is due (or when various pieces are due) and work backward. Figure out what major elements need to be done and how much time you have. If you know you’re going to be gone for the weekend or that Tuesdays are busy with extracurriculars, don’t include those days in your planning. Grab a calendar and start scheduling tasks out.

· Break it down into chunks.

Instead of looking at the project as a whole, divide it into smaller parts. Does there need to be an initial draft? Do they have to create a poster or visual? Devote time to research, creating an outline, making a first draft, editing and revising, creating a final draft, and making any other components that go with the project. Try to split things up into smaller chunks that are more manageable and have tasks that all go together.

· Make a checklist.

Once you’ve broken things down, create a checklist. It can be motivating for your child to check things off as they’re completed. They can see themselves getting closer to their goal and realize that the project isn’t as overwhelming as they initially thought. Plus, this allows your child to see their progress and make adjustments if they realize they need more time for a specific section.

· Read carefully and ask questions.

As your child works on the project, encourage them to go back and re-read the instructions or rubric before they start working each day. If there is something that is unclear, encourage them to ask their teacher questions. They can even take in some of the work they’ve done already to make sure they’re on the right track or get feedback.

Major projects can be a lot of work, but if you support your child in staying organized, learning how to plan things out, and doing a little bit of work each day, they’ll see that projects are easier and more fun when they’re not waiting until the last minute. They can use these same skills for homework assignments as well to help pace themselves and stay focused.

If your child is struggling with organization, writing skills, or even the concepts they’re doing the project on, signing them up for tutoring can work to their advantage. They’ll have the guidance and assistance they need to show their best work and have help understanding content as well. Don’t wait until your child has fallen behind to start working with a tutor — contact Crafting Scholars today!