Friday, July 27, 2012

Avoiding Homework Hassles

It's time to get ready to go back to school. In addition to new clothes and school supplies, many parents spend considerable time thinking about how to make the new school year better. One area most families can improve is the hassle of homework.

The point of homework is to reinforce what is taught during the school day. Having to remember instructions after returning home and being responsible enough to turn in the assignment are also good life skills.

Why is homework such a problem? Some children don't want to stop playing long enough to begin, others quit before completion, and an entirely different group don't turn in what they do.

The solution starts with planning. Getting the information from school, finding a time and place, and discovering the right system to turn work in all need consideration.

How will your child remember the information and get it home? Most school use some sort of a planner or notebook system. Encourage your student to write down assignments, then check the notebook when they get home. Compare what comes to you with what the teacher posts on his or her website for accuracy.

Now select a time. One young man told me he couldn't do homework right after school because he "had" to play. Didn't believe him until his mother said she sent him down the street to play as soon as he got off the bus so she could make dinner in peace. Some children need to de-stress right after school, so a later time is better. Others need to get right on it so they can get finished before bedtime. The most important thing is to be consistent.

Where to do it? Pick a quiet location that is comfortable with no distractions. That means no electronics or playing siblings. If you can, keep this area just for homework.

Now, to begin. Visit with your child to see if he or she wants to tackle the hard stuff first or warm up the brain with something quick and easy. Either system works if the child will do it. You may just want to get out one assignment at a time so your child isn't overwhelmed. 

Don't just walk away at this point. You will have to do a little trial and error to determine how much monitoring your child requires. Some need constant prompting, while others only need occasional checking. 

Armed with your plan, you're ready for a successful school year!