Homework Wars

Pointers for Parents are regular SHORT inspirations to bring hope and encouragement to parents. I hope to build a bridge between parents and teachers as it pertains to the education of children and how we can work together for the betterment of our kids.

cryingWe’ve all had them.  The meltdowns.  The frustrations.  The total breakdowns.  We’ve also tried every possible solution.  Bribery.  Gentleness.  Anger.  Begging.  What is it about homework that brings out the worst in kids?  I believe they think if they work all day, they shouldn’t have to work when they get home, and I must say they kind of have a point.  I mean, I don’t want to come home after working all day and do more work either.  But as much as I don’t like homework, I recognize the need for it.  I am a teacher after all.  It is a time to practice the skills taught.  A time to solidify knowledge. Skipping doing it is not an option.  Here are some tips to help tame homework time. Keep in mind that each child is different and what works for one may not work for another…in other words you may have to try all of these tips until you find one that works!

  • Do homework first thing when you get home. Set the child down at the table with no distractions.  Sit with him/her while they work.  Have them explain what they are working on to you.
  • Hahaha…yeah right! So if the first one doesn’t work try this.  Set a timer.  Make it a game.  How many math problems can you do in 5 minutes? Set it again…can you beat that number in the next 5 minutes?  This kind of timing works especially well for competitive boys.  It turns homework into a race against themselves.
  • Allow them to work on the floor or in a chair, with music in the background. I know it goes against everything in you…but not every person can work sitting at a desk.  Horrors!!  I don’t get it either, but I have found that allowing a child to work in a comfortable way for them gets more done.  The key is they have to be WORKING.  If they start playing, or dozing…to the desk they go. Same if the music starts to distract…it goes off.
  • Chunk it. Many kids struggle with feeling overwhelmed with the amount of work…especially after a long day.  They think they will NEVER finish.  Use a piece of blank paper to cover all but one question.  Sounds crazy, I mean they know there are more under that paper, but the effect is remarkable.  When they can only see one thing their mind doesn’t jump ahead. This works for reading too…use the paper to track each sentence. It rests on what they see and it seems to go by faster
  • Give them a break first. Let them play (preferably outside) or have a snack.  Set a start time and hold them to it.  You have 30 minutes, then we get to the homework.  For some kids this is all they need…a break.  Once again I can’t blame them, I kind of need one too.  However, you have to stick to the time set. Once you let them slide, they will use it against you FOREVER.
  • Last resort.   Hold those video games hostage until the homework is finished.  Hey…sometimes it is all that works.  You have to remember YOU are the parent and you have to act like it.  Just remind yourself that the practice they are getting at home will set them up for success at school the next day when the teacher has to move on to a new concept.
  • The ultimate solution…sign them up for the afterschool program (or a tutor…shameless plug). It costs, but when you pick them up, their homework is FINISHED already. I say that is a worthy investment into your child’s future…and your sanity.


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