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What's your homework routine?

Posted by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM
  • 12 Replies

5 Steps to Homework Success

Your child is at the beginning of a long-term relationship with studying -- and you're involved in it too. If you look at this as a process, one where you'll be introducing positive habits, you'll soon be on the path to more productive, peaceful, and pleasant (really!) homework sessions.

Teach Consistency

Barring schedule-busters like after-school activities, your child should try to do her homework at the same time every day. "Without a routine, it's too easy to put off," says Jeanne Shay Schumm, PhD, author of How to Help Your Child with Homework. In figuring out the optimal time, consider the family schedule and your child's temperament. Most kids need a chance to decompress after school, and many work more efficiently following physical activity. In fact, research shows that exercise can actually increase a child's concentration.

Once you've nailed the time, create a dedicated study space. Having a consistent spot helps kids switch into study mode. But forget about the conventional wisdom of a desk in your child's room. In early elementary school, it's better to set things up in a central location so you're around to help if needed. Make room on the kitchen or dining room table for him to stretch out with books and papers. And keep supplies at the ready; otherwise, you're inviting procrastination -- the number of minutes spent searching for a pencil can easily turn into hours!

Dial Down Distractions

One way to provide a quiet environment is by making study time a family affair. If possible, have older siblings do their work at the same time, while you sit nearby with "homework" of your own such as bill-paying, reading, catching up on e-mail, or folding laundry. If you seem engaged by whatever you're doing, your kid will likely catch the vibe. Making a rule that the TV/video games stay off until everyone in the family is finished will keep your child focused and on task.

Aim for Independence

Grade-school kids will usually require at least some assistance. But before you decide how much help to offer, check with your child's teacher. Most prefer that kids work mainly on their own so that homework can be used as a gauge of progress. That means restraining yourself from correcting your child's spelling or figuring out the math problem for him.

On the other hand, reading his work over and challenging him to find the three misspelled words you discovered is a good way to get him into the habit of checking over his stuff.

It's also never too early to teach the value of research: Demonstrate how to find answers in reference books like dictionaries, online, and in atlases. Or look for real-world solutions. The more you foster the idea of homework as a time for independent exploration, the more kids are going to enjoy learning.

Discourage Perfectionism

Striving to get things right is admirable, but make sure your child knows that it is impossible to be perfect. If she's driving herself crazy with self-criticism, go over each assignment and agree on how long she should spend -- say 10 minutes -- and help her stick to that schedule. If necessary, arrange a conference with the teacher, who can explain to your child that homework is practice, not perfection. "Kids will often listen to a message from a teacher that they won't hear if it's from a parent," says Dr. Schumm.

Investigate Any Resistance

If, despite your best efforts, your child stubbornly refuses to do his homework, you need to get to the bottom of things. "It might seem like an attitude problem, but his reluctance may be a sign that he's having difficulty with the material," says Jed Baker, PhD, author of No More Meltdowns. Talk to his teacher about how he's doing in class; if he's struggling there too, he may need extra help in general. If he's simply homework-averse, try breaking up the assignment into smaller tasks and challenging him to get through at least one. "Once he reaches his initial goal, momentum might just carry him through to the end," says Dr. Baker.

Don't forget that all kids will be pleased to hear some heartfelt props for getting their work done. Your recognition of their effort -- even if it doesn't result in an "A" -- is the greatest incentive of all and a powerful way to communicate the importance of trying their best.

What are the homework "rules" at your house?

by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 11:57 AM
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Replies (1-10):
nngmommy83
by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 2:13 PM
I really don't have any set rules. Natalli is very good about having it done before bed time each day. This might change now that she's starting middle school
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PoehlerBear1983
by Meghan on Aug. 21, 2012 at 2:30 PM
The only rule is that homework is done before playtime. This is excused if they have practice. In that case they do it after dinner
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sarah824
by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 4:10 PM

 This is the rule around here too.

Quoting PoehlerBear1983:

The only rule is that homework is done before playtime. This is excused if they have practice. In that case they do it after dinner

 

countrymomma81
by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 5:45 PM

They just know to get started right away. I fix them a snack and they eat while they are studying, then when they are done they get started on the written stuff. 

timon95
by Betty on Aug. 21, 2012 at 6:09 PM

no rules here - no homework here!

sarah824
by on Aug. 21, 2012 at 7:21 PM

You homeschool, right? How many hours a day do you spend *schooling* your kids? Do you take time off for summer, spring break, winter break, etc? Just curious. 

Quoting timon95:

no rules here - no homework here!

 

bethany169
by Bethany on Aug. 21, 2012 at 10:51 PM

We don't have any yet, but I will definitely keep these in mind, thanks!!

timon95
by Betty on Aug. 22, 2012 at 1:01 AM

about 5 hrs of school a day. we will also be starting a co-op group this year. no, we still try to school through the summer. it was a crazy summer this year, they had more time off than I wanted,but we still got some schooling in. no, breaks! and yes, we will occasionally school on Saturday. If dh is on vaca then they will get a break.

Quoting sarah824:

You homeschool, right? How many hours a day do you spend *schooling* your kids? Do you take time off for summer, spring break, winter break, etc? Just curious. 

Quoting timon95:

no rules here - no homework here!

 


family car

sarah824
by on Aug. 22, 2012 at 1:08 AM

How old are your kids? Are you able to keep their curriculum similar so that you can teach them together and still let them get through their grade levels?

I really wish I had the ability to homeschool my kids, but I am not patient enough and if we are all home together I would rather be doing more outside, fun stuff than school stuff. I would find it hard to keep myself motivated to teach them. 

Quoting timon95:

about 5 hrs of school a day. we will also be starting a co-op group this year. no, we still try to school through the summer. it was a crazy summer this year, they had more time off than I wanted,but we still got some schooling in. no, breaks! and yes, we will occasionally school on Saturday. If dh is on vaca then they will get a break.

Quoting sarah824:

You homeschool, right? How many hours a day do you spend *schooling* your kids? Do you take time off for summer, spring break, winter break, etc? Just curious. 

Quoting timon95:

no rules here - no homework here!

 


 

batjmom
by Sarah on Aug. 22, 2012 at 6:53 AM
Those are interesting.
My kids do homework after getting home from school. They have a snack first then homework
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