We are talking about "Back to School" here on the blog and I wanted to get you thinking about Homework. I know-I know- who wants to think homework before school even starts?! Right? But I guarantee your child is thinking about it and dreading it. In fact, it may be a reason your child is grumbling about the return to school.
I know for some families, homework is a time of chaos-yelling-tears-and maybe tantrums. This is one time where the whole family may complain and want to just give up on school. Let's face it, homework is not going away. In fact, it's a vital tool for your child's learning. I can't believe I'm supporting homework! It is proven that practice makes skills easier and helps your child to retain what they have learned. If they can go home and do the work, then they've gotten the hang of the new skill. So, how do we take the battle out of homework time?
Here are a few tips:
- Set a consistent time to do homework----This could be immediately after school or after a break from school. For my family, we allow some time to play and have a snack. Especially when days get shorter and the sun goes down early. Children sit most of the day at school and come home wound up with energy that needs to be used. It's ok to give them time to move. This does not mean watching tv or playing video games. Get them moving! They may even be able to focus much easier after this. Do not wait until right before bedtime to do homework!!!! Your child will be tired and this will turn into a battle!
- Have a quiet place set up for homework.---This could be a desk, kitchen table, or in their rooms. Give other siblings who may not be doing homework a busy activity so they are not bothered. Make sure there are no distractions like the tv or ipod's around for texting.
- Be around for support.---If your child needs help, how do they let you know? Do they cry out angrily "I don't understand this!!!" Let them know when to ask for help. This is such an important lesson to teach early because we all need support sometimes, and often those adults who have high stress levels are those who struggle to ask for help when needed. Teach them early how to ask for help. Walk in and check on them after about 10 minutes to make sure they don't need help and talk to them about how proud you are that they are working so hard.
- Don't lose your cool!---Homework can be stressful for parents too. When my son was in 4th grade and common core math started, I wanted to beat my head on the table. I just could not wrap my brain around the concepts he was learning. That was a long evening of googling and texting other moms for help. But I remained calm and it actually became quite funny. Don't get frustrated if you don't understand and know how to support your child. Do have some people on backup who may be able to help. Maybe dad is good at Math and mom is good at Language Arts. Take turns where your strengths lie or call a friend. And if that doesn't work, simply use your own coping skills and help them to do their best. Then, let the teacher know you are unable to help with that subject. If your child is struggling with it, make the teacher aware so they know they will have to give them some extra support to get it.
- Don't allow complaining and whining. Let your child know before school starts what your plan is to help them get homework done and make it less stressful. Set up a reward for them to get it done when asked and not whine or throw fits about it. Celebrate when they finish-look over it to ensure they did it correctly-give them some free-time and maybe a favorite treat to show them how proud you are of their effort and their attitude.
Let us know in the comments what your homework routine looks like!
This is going to be a great year!