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Homework Tips

Homework is an inevitable activity your school age child will participate in for many years.  It can cause stress and headaches for kids as well as parents.

It doesn't have to be doom and gloom at your house when the homework binder is pulled from your child's backpack.

Invest a little time around your home to make this a positive experience for everyone.

Create a Work Space

  • Make a designated area for homework that works for your child.  It is quite realistic to have one child prefer the kitchen table and another sequestered in quiet room.  Each child has different needs. Go with it!
  • Offer up a homework spot in your home for papers, future assessments and places for poster boards and projects to be left safely in your home.  Half the stress is losing rubrics, assignments and papers. 
  • Folders and accordion folders work well to organize homework from school.  Label the folders so everything is located in one spot.  Even a bin can be used to place 'in progress work' so it doesn't get lost in the shuffle of a busy home.

Setting the Homework "Stage"

  • Give plenty of time to do it! If a parent overschedules then homework time will suffer. It is up to a parent to make this a priority.
  • Gauge your child's energy level. Is a cold brewing? Does your child simply need to get to bed and sleep early?  Make a solid relationship of communication with your child's teacher. Sometimes doing half the assessment well is as good as doing all of it.  On a limited basis, please.
  • Reinforce positivity.  Parents can offer up their 'company' during homework.  Lately it's hard to get my teenager to sit with me for any length of time.  I sit and do some work on my computer or read while she does her homework.  Just being in her space, makes us have great conversations during homework breaks.
  • Encourage and compliment good work.  When you get in this type of relationship early it's great.  There are times when you have to ask for a rewrite, neater handwriting or a do-over.  You want to avoid a HUGE meltdown.

Ideas to get the task done! 

  1. Try using a timer to encourage spurts of activity.  Put the timer on for 5-10 minute intervals and let them have a minute or two to reorganized between 'sessions'.
  2. Give your kids a rubric.  Some kids need help mapping out assignments like a poster reflecting their knowledge. Let your child come up with the teacher's goals and parents can follow up with their own guidelines and expectations.
  3. Find out the online source for homework or set up strong communication lines with the teacher about homework.  I know I love when I know what is due and expectations beyond my child's assignment book.
  4. Helping with the first few questions and problems to get your child on their way on a good, positive footing.  This will show you how well your child knows the subject matter and what assistance they truly will need for it.

When the Material Gets Hard for Parents

  • When your child is so overwhelmed and confused, or you both can't work together hiring a tutor is an awesome option.  Math is just beyond me now that my daughter is in Middle School.  The tutor is really able to jump right in and teach the strategies quickly.
  • Modifications should be in place for students on a 504 plan or IEP.  Be sure those are in place for your family.
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