Homework is once again part of family life for those who have children in school. Parents can find it daunting or doable. Having a homework plan is the first step in taking the stress out of the daily task. Choosing the perfect place, the best time, accountability and proper fuel makes all the difference.
Even though your child may try to convince you the best place to do homework is in front of the TV—don’t believe it. Doing homework during commercials is not the most efficient way to complete their studies. Choose a place away from distractions. If your only option is the kitchen or dining room table, be sure to turn off the TV in the adjoining room so the temptation to hurry through work or jump up to catch the action is avoided. If you are able to create an individual study space, that’s even better. Wherever homework is done, be sure needed tools are close at hand. Provide sharpened pencils, pens, erasers, markers, rulers, calculator, and any art supplies needed to complete their homework. Encourage them not to take these things to school with them but reserve them for their study space. That way no time is wasted looking for them, and the ones in their book bag are not accidentally left at home.
Whether the best time for doing homework is right after school or right after dinner, be consistent. Don’t allow any distractions or “I promise to do it later” to squeeze out study time . A timer can also make a difference between staying on task and daydreaming. Set the timer for 20 minutes. Once the timer goes off reevaluate what is left to be done and set the timer again. Setting a timer can aid in getting those less favorite assignments done promptly.. Once the timer goes off reevaluate what is left to be done and set the timer again. A math assignment may take longer than 20 minutes while a reading assignment may take less. Doing their least favorite subject first gets it out of the way and the rest of the time for completing homework goes more quickly.
Check Their Work
Don’t just ask if it is finished. Check the answers, read the essay and review all assignments. It takes time but reinforces accountability to complete tasks. Some teachers require parents to sign homework sheets. If your child’s teacher doesn’t, create a reward system at home to insure completed homework. Some schools post all assignments on line or require students to keep an assignment notebook. Double check these to be sure nothing was left undone. Knowing you are going to do more than glance at their assignments will keep them on track. Don’t hesitate to make them do over anything that is not right or messy. Future job success will depend on accuracy and neatness.
Provide a healthy snack for your children before they start on their homework or provide a snack break. Sugary snacks give a temporary energy high then a fatigue crash. Cookies and other sweets can also spoil their appetites for dinner later on. Thirty minutes of physical activity can also provide renewed energy to settle into studying. Allowing your child the opportunity to ride their bike or shoot some baskets beforehand can aid in concentration.
Develop good habits
Taking the time when your children are young to develop these good habits will make homework stress-free for the whole family. It will also prepare them for the adult world. Success in future careers depends on an individual’s ability to complete a task thoroughly and without constant supervision.
What homework tips work for your family?
To follow Cindy Huff's Parenting Column subscribe now.