Back to school also means back to homework. By the end of September, students and families are really starting to get back in the swing of having classes, and teachers are starting to hand out increasing amounts of homework. While many students start the year off with the best of intentions and keep up with their homework, as the workload picks up many students start to see their motivation and organization slide. So how can you help your child stay on the straight and narrow? Here are some tips that have helped some of our students (and our kids!) keep up with homework.
Timing is Everything
Setting up dedicated homework time (even when your child claims he or she doesn’t have any) where your child sits in a designated spot in the house to work on homework makes getting work done part of the routine. Make this time mandatory for a reasonable length of time (that you decide on through discussions with your child), with the clear expectation that your child will work until the work for the next day is completed. If your child starts whining that the work is finished, work on weak areas or getting ahead on big assignments.
Make homework a priority in your home by putting it before television, playing outside, talking on the phone, or getting on the computer for recreational purposes. Again, constant communication with your child is important. Many kids need time to unwind after the school day, so spending an additional 45 minutes doing math problems immediately after getting off the bus may not be a recipe for success for most kids. Be open to negotiations. If your child wants to watch one tv program or ride her bike to the corner and back before getting started on homework, be flexible. It’s important to get homework done, obviously, but it’s also important that your child has balance in his life and the ability to unwind.
A lot of time doing homework can be wasted trying to find the necessary supplies. Whether it’s coloring in a bar graph or assembling a poster for a science project, your child is going to need quite a few supplies handy. Set aside a homework cupboard or drawer where your child can find everything he or she might need to cut down on frustrating time spent digging through drawers for a red crayon.
Sometimes children struggle with homework, and they may struggle silently. By having someone available to help your child with homework, you can catch problems early on. Rather than finding out Sally Sue can’t add when she fails the unit test, you’ll find out one evening before dinner when she gets twenty-five problems wrong on her worksheet. This strategy can cut down on frustration for children, families, and teachers. Just be careful not to do your child’s homework. You’re there to help, not to take over.
What are other tips you’ve found helpful for getting homework done?