“Tell me who you sat next to at lunch today.”
“What was the most interesting fact you learned in science?”
“How much homework do you have?”
Yep, that’s the one, that last question that can take a successful day at school and a wonderfully-enlightening conversation about it to a dark, combative place. After a summer of no homework, my kids get excited those first few weeks of school that they have some. As the year gets under way, however, the excitement of review goes out the window and the battle begins. However, I have found a few solutions to the homework problem.
If you are lucky enough to go to a school that offers “homework club” or a program like it, take advantage of it. Not only are there a few teachers in the library at this time to assist with anything the kids are struggling with, it means that when I pick them up homework is finished, and our time at home can be for relaxing, laughter and decompression from the day. They show me their completed work, and we can leave backpacks at the front door till the next day.
10 Minute Increments
This year my 5th grade daughter has close to an hour of homework. When she tries to sit down and conquer it all, her frustration is evident from the beginning. So we have started breaking her homework down into small blocks. We set a timer, and she does 10 minutes of homework. When the timer stops, she puts her pencil down and takes 10 minutes to do anything she wants. Then it’s back to 10 minutes of homework. It prevents her from feeling overwhelmed and prevents me from getting frustrated with her.
On the days when my kids are looking like homework is going to win the battle of frustration, I do my homework with them. We all sit down at the kitchen counter, and I do “mommy” homework: pay my bills, write my articles, sometimes just read and research. I get things done I need to accomplish, and the kids feel like I am in the trenches with them. It’s a quiet, gentle bonding time that benefits us all.
Refuse To Let Homework Win
Homework is meant to be a review of the lessons the kids have already been taught at school. When anything is giving them a really hard time, and that frustration level begins to grow, out come my Post-It notes.:”This problem was really giving her issues, please review with her.” This feedback is important for the teachers, to see where my kids need a little extra instruction or explanation. If I try to explain a concept to my kids they are still not understanding, it will definitely result in some sort of frustration between us, or more likely, I will get it wrong. So I make sure they try and take their time with it, but if it’s not clicking, we step away and move on with the understanding that we’ll revisit it in the future.
Homework isn’t going anywhere, and it’s a part of the job of going to school. Approaching it with patience and finding the tricks to help you and your kids successfully navigate it will keep everyone feeling good.