As a former teacher…my favorite time of the year is here! jajaja! Number one reason I became a teacher? I love school. Diego has already experienced the positives and the “negatives” (according to him) of me as an educator. Some days, after learning something really interesting or having done a cool project, he’s happy with this fact. Other times, like when it is time to sit and do some writing (not his favorite thing to do) he’ll practically growl at me and say, “Do I have to??” Um, yes.
We all have to be ready for the whining and complaining of homework time. It’s tough. I get it. Kids are super active in school all day but this is where I stay positive…there are six hours of free time after school. Sure, we can fill it up with sports, playtime and even downtime. The reality is: there is work to be done. An hour (sometimes more!) is needed to reinforce what kids learned at school. Hopefully, these tips will help your family have a smooth homework session.
1) Decide on the time: I like giving Diego choices. I hear that right after school is not the best time to do homework (most kids need about a 30 minute break to wind down after a long day) but I ask him anyway, “Would you like to do homework now?” If he says no I then offer him 30 minutes of screen time. If he complains after 30 minutes of screen time, no TV choice tomorrow. Sorry buddy! Waiting after dinner is also a choice but only after I have checked how much homework is assigned. I will not offer this choice if he has to write because I know writing is not his favorite. It would lead us past bedtime and sleep is just as important as homework.
2) Establish a work space: Have all your supplies ready, a neat tabletop and away from distractions. We are lucky to have space and we use our sun room as a study/homework/quiet space. They love it. Believe it or not, the little guys in our house know the homework routine and ask for paper and crayons so they can do their “work” too. On a side note, allow little ones to become part of the homework time because it establishes a great sense of routine for them.
3) Help (just a little): Be there to guide your children’s homework time. It is a great time for you learn what is going on at school. Conversations about friends will occur too! Creating special bonding time with your child after school is important. Be there to support, not to do the homework yourself.
4) No homework? Incorporate others: Instruments, your family’s other language, reading time, spelling…all takes practice. If there is no homework on a certain night, these specific subject areas can be done without the rush.
5) Stay in touch with teachers: You might not know the answer to everything and that is okay! Don’t forget that you can always talk to your teacher about something you can’t help or do with your child. They will offer additional resources for your family if homework becomes too difficult.
6) Pack everything up at night: Establish a routine for putting all homework away, signed field trip forms, show and tell… Backpacks should be right by the door with shoes and jackets in our home. No one wants to rush the next day morning. Mornings are hectic as it is!
7) Model: If you are able to sit during homework time with your child take a little time to read (anything!), write or color with a younger child…please do! Children know that if it is important to you, it is simply important.
8) Communicate with care takers: Print this up for your sitters! Just like baby’s feeding time, potty training and other milestones-communication is key! I am aware that some parents are still at work when children arrive from school. Discussing the importance of sticking to a schedule with your sitter will help your child’s overall academic success! Hopefully, all you will have to do is review with your child when you are all home together.
Did I miss anything? What homework tip would you like to share? Have a fantastic school year and good luck!