It’s 10pm and you are getting ready to watch your favorite show and then head off to bed. In walks your sleepy 11-year-old who just remembered she has a book report and diorama due—tomorrow. It looks like it may be time to round up the shoebox and put on a pot of coffee.
As a parent, you have probably dealt with that scenario before. However, it does not have to be like that! Developing a homework habit and a method for tackling this work will help avoid these late-night surprises as well as encouraging your child’s success in school. These simple tips will make homework time much easier.
- A Time for Learning – Choose a time each day that you set aside to do homework. On those days that he does not have any, your child can work on long-term projects, reading, studying or tasks like college applications. A dedicated time makes it easier to get motivated.
- Make Space – Does your child attempt to do homework in bed or in front of the TV? This can be uncomfortable and distracting. Choose a comfortable and distraction-free area where homework should be completed. A special desk, just for homework, may be a good idea—especially if you can find one at a good price using a ebates deal. (psst you get $10 in your ebates account just for signing up with my link!)
- Connect – Stay in touch with your child’s teacher. Whether you connect by email, phone or social media, it will help you understand what is expected and how you can help.
- Divide and Conquer – If you are great at reviewing book reports but horrible at helping with math, see if your spouse or a friend can help. In this manner, you can get your child the help he needs.
- Provide a Good Example – Do your children see you putting off tasks like bills, balancing the checkbook and taxes until the last minute? Make it a point to sit down and do these things regularly—maybe even during your child’s homework time. When he sees that you are not procrastinating, it provides a great example of how to handle his homework.
- Be Available but Don’t Hover – While you want to be around to answer questions, don’t hover during homework time. This adds to the stress and may make you jump in and help when you are not actually needed.
- Get Started – When your child is assigned a big project, work out a plan of attack and get started right away. Waiting until the last minute means the project will not get the attention it deserves and may cause your child’s grade to suffer.
- Don’t Stress – Don’t let your children become over-stressed about homework. If the work is overwhelming, let him take a break or even look online and see if he can find some tips to make it easier. Stress will make it much harder to learn.
While your kids may complain, homework is often a great way for teachers to reinforce what they teach in the classroom. Without good habits, it may seem as though your child is drowning in assignments. However, when you develop homework routines it reduces stress and has much less of an impact on your family time too. How much homework is too much? Do you think teachers assign an appropriate amount for your child?
Meli Szrajba has discovered that being a math whiz in high school does not make fifth-grade math or creating Civil War dioramas now any easier.