Homework can feel a bit like a jolt of electricity after summer vacationand leave you and your children a bit disorientated. Are your children finding it hard to hit the books at home? Does your homework routine need a makeover? The article at Scholastic.com titled ‘10 Homework Help Tips‘ by Ms. Stephanie Wood offers some great ideas to ensure an effective homework routine. The folks at Scholastic.com sought and received great tips from parents and teachers around the country, ranging from tips on time and place to do homework, to tips on increasing motivation and curtailing homework anxiety and frustration.
The top tip this article had was to get homework done good and early. While some kids can hop off the bus and go right at it, other kids need a short break, before they begin their homework. The biggest take away from this tip was to give a specific time frame-say 3pm to 5pm for homework, and to not start after 5pm for younger children especially. Young children (and often parents too) are too tired to start at this point and there is dinner, maybe classes or practice, and the bedtime routine to start.
There was a great suggestion to create a call list for when homework is forgotten. If that vital spelling list is forgotten, a homework buddy can go over it on the phone or have a grownup take a picture of the list to send over the phone. Or it could be e-mailed.
There were tips for motivating the overwhelmed and dispirited child. It was suggested that you can build initial confidence by tackling that first homework problem together and then turning it over to your child, once she is confident and calmer about her work. Here and always, it’s a good practice to heap the positive feedback on your child’s efforts. When you do this, you should be as specific as possible. What about the dispirited parent, who has his own homework woes, listening to his child whine and melt down over school work? The article suggests leaving the room, (sanity saving action) but staying close by until the whining subsides. It also suggests letting your child complain for a short time and practicing empathy to get over the initial hump.
For daydreamers and procrastinators, there are these tips. A daydreamer may work better in a separate and specific spot to do his homework. In the article, a parent mentions setting her child up in her office. There is something about letting a child work in a special place (like where you do your important work) that can be very motivating. For that special procrastinator in your life, the article discusses having her try to beat the clock, to get over the initial hesitancy and inertia. A parent can set the clock for five or ten minutes and instruct her child to fire away at her school work. “ See how many math problem you can finish in 10 minutes! I bet you can beat the clock!”
Other great tips include helping your child breakdown large tasks into more bite size pieces. By taking a dry erase board or dry erase calendar, you can take that large project and schedule it out into more manageable steps. For example, if your child has a special project they need to do on the fifty states, that culminates after two months of work, you can look at what has to be accomplished each of the eight weeks. Doing it this way can help the most overwhelmed child and parent, too! A last great tip they gave is something like an emergency switch. If your child is truly done in and exhausted by specific homework, you can cut in half what they need to do. Either you or your child can explain that he did have of what was assigned, but could not complete it. If a child uses this technique sparingly, it can help squelch a much larger homework problem. He must then get the help he needs at school , through a peer, a tutor, or you, to further overcome their struggles. With these tips, struggles should lessen. Homework woes should ease and everyone should breathe easier at night…