I have just returned from the fiery pits of homework hell! OK, maybe that statement is a tiny bit dramatic! I am, however, currently priding myself on the fact that homework is officially finished for the moment within my household.
I have no idea what homework looks like in other households, but I can tell you that I have had a number of conversations about it over the course of the last few weeks both with my students’ parents and my parent pals.
Discussions have included:
- The importance of homework
- The purpose of homework
- How much should parents assist, plan, intervene?
- How long should homework take?
- Why do our kids even have homework?
My purpose of this post is NOT to share my own personal philosophies on homework, but instead to share how I help my own children navigate their homework at my house. We will begin with this…
This monthly reading project was given to my son within the first week of the school year and told that it would be due on September 29th! This Thursday… My son was told he had to select a fiction book, get his book choice approved, and once completed, begin working on the dodecahedron project that focused on the different fictional story elements. Judging from his initial response to this assignment, I knew he was not going to be working on this project freely.
While it was packaged up in a logical, organized fashion, the assignment was a page filled with steps of what to complete and how many points each component was worth. He took one look at the project and felt overwhelmed. His frustrated response has completely changed the way I assign my own students’ projects.
While my son was fairly diligent about reading his book, the project remained untouched on his desk, only moving when he was forced to dust. So this Friday, the “gentle mom” nudges began…
- FRIDAY: “Hey Buddy, your reading project is due next Thursday, right? How is it coming along?”
- SATURDAY: “Any thoughts on your reading project?” Can I help you gather any supplies?”
- SUNDAY: “Before you head anywhere today, your project is getting finished!”
The project was moved to the kitchen table, and while I did my weekend work, he completed his. I am happy to report that the dodecahedron is ready to be assembled as directed at school. WAHOOO!
Projects completely overwhelm my son and most students, so we strategized how to make it seem less intimidating. We mapped out the project, determined what was needed to get started, and I was available if he needed some sort of assistance.
While projects don’t take place every day, here are the three strategies I use to help my kiddos with their every day homework tasks…
And here is how they work…
Using student planners is ideal. What can get completed each day and how much time will it take? Have your child map out their reading, math, spelling, science, and social studies work for the week. If you model this task and check in, it will become automatic for them over time. It is important for kids to understand the work that they are responsible for completing each week and the amount of time it will take. Give them independent accountability by teaching them how to be independent and accountable with their work.
While my daughter has nightly reading and math facts, each day my son gets home from school, he has FAR more to do. To make sure his work gets finished, he has established a routine. He grabs a snack, gathers the supplies he needs, sits down, and he gets started. It is his job to look in his planner and tackle the assigned work. If work isn’t finished, he foregoes sports. PERIOD. While play is essential, school work comes first.
After school I am busy packing lunches, making dinner, and wrapping up my own school day. A favorite homework spot is our kitchen table. This is a perfect place for my kiddos to work because I am close by to answer any questions my kiddos may have.
I know parents have different strategies and ideas to make homework time most productive. While these are tried and true strategies for my household, use what works best and keeps your kiddos successfully plugging away! Here’s to a week of happy kiddos and limited homework struggles.