Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Ending the Homework War

Do your homework!

Homework, homework, homework, where to start?  For many years homework in my household meant one word, TORTURE.  I use to think that homework was back to school for parents; pure dread.  We have had our share of the ups and downs of getting homework done.  

Our oldest didn't need much help and most of the time I didn't even know if she had homework.  For our youngest, however, homework was a bad word. She was diagnosed with Dyslexia and high anxiety, so homework had us jumping through some hurdles. It took some time to figure out how to conquer homework with her, but after some research and trial and error, we won the battle. We found that being in a calm, organized and stress free environment along with the right tools did the trick. 

The National Center for Learning Disabilities has some great tips for homework and developing organizational skills that can turn homework into a peaceful time of night rather than a time they dread all day. Here are some of my favorites:

Get Involved 
Ask questions about their homework. Many teachers assign all of the homework that is due by Friday, at the beginning of the week.  Help your kids manage the work load out throughout the week so it does not seem overwhelming. Do the amount of work your child is capable of without getting frustrated. Time management for kids is half the battle to be successful with homework. It and teaches them to not procrastinate. 

Quiet Time
Make sure that homework is done in a quiet place. Turning off the television, radio and shutting off any social media on the computer gives them time to concentrate on homework. It's a good idea to set up a "homework nook".  It doesn't matter which room it's in as long as there are no distractions and it's a place where only their homework gets done. I include a few healthy snacks so that they can take a break, if needed.

The Right Tools
What do I mean by right tools? Well, keep plenty of pencils, erasers, rulers, a calculator and scrap paper in the homework nook. I have experienced homework gone bad when we didn't have the right pencil or a calculator.  One time Emily's pencil didn't have a good enough eraser and she went to erase and she ripped her paper. Talk about frustration and anxiety! Her whole paper was ruined and she was afraid she'd be in big trouble with the teacher. Things run a lot more smoothly when you have the right tools available.


organizational skills, time management for kids
Homework solutions to end the homework war
When kids are doing homework motivate them to succeed. Looking over their shoulder and pointing out mistakes will discourage them and they might stop trying.  What worked for me was pointing out the things Emily did correctly and then going over mistakes later. Using a sticker chart as motivation can help for kids in elementary school.  Give your child a reward once the chart is complete. Incentives can be easy things like a special dessert, watch some television or getting ice cream as a special treat.

Do homework at the same time everyday.  Kids usually thrive with schedules, so if you are consistent they will be more positive about homework. Doing homework should not be any different than brushing their teeth or eating breakfast every morning. If it is something they know they have to do everyday, they will do it. I made a Chore Chart at my house and included the following things:
  • Brush your teeth
  • Make your bed
  • Eat Breakfast
  • Make your lunch
  • Do your Homework
  • Take a bath

Homework Resources
There is plenty of help out there if you need it to conquer the homework blues.  If you find that your child is struggling, a trip to the library is a good change of scenery and a great place to find resources that can help. Discovery Education is a website with free resources to help your kids with motivation, different subjects and even free webinars for parents.

Your local library may even have resources for parents as well as elementary and high school age kids. 

Looking for online help? Here are a couple of great resources. 
  • Homework Helper has links for each grade level, quick reference guides and links to more online resources. 
  • Multnomah County library has online help by subject, rather than grade. It's available nationwide, too.

Homework Passes
A homework pass in our house was more valuable than gold. Ask teachers how your child can get a homework pass. Doing some extra chores, extra homework sheets for extra credit or reading some extra pages from one of their books are possible ways to earn passes. Some teachers also give out homework passes for good behavior. If your child comes home with one, praise them and let them know how well they are doing. It will build their self-esteem and provide them a strong platform to succeed in the future.

Being a Good Role Model
Our kids follow what we do. If they see us enjoying a good book, they will want to read. If they see that we set aside quiet time to get work done, they will follow the example.

For me, keeping a positive outlook about homework helped the most. Many parents feel that teachers give too much homework.  Even five year olds get kindergarten homework and parents even get burn out.  I use to feel this way too but now that my children are older I am thankful for all the hard work they have put in.  It has definitely paid off and they are now excelling in high school.

What we need to do is teach our children that homework isn't just a chore but a way to make us smarter.  It reinforces what they have learned at school during the day. Homework is actually a way to practice better skills to make them a better student.  It's no different then playing a sport and having to go to practice to make you better. Practice makes perfect on and off the court.

Marci Psalmonds
Contributing Writer

1 comment:

  1. The Children should follow the Time Management to take responsible to finishes the work in time