After an entire day of being at school, most children are not exactly jumping for joy at the thought of sitting down for more study. And to be completely honest, I share their feelings. After school time is what one of my good friends cleverly labeled as 'Arsenic Hour'! We have sport's training to get them to, loads of washing piling up, dinner to think of and even tomorrow's lunches!
So how can we not just survive homework, but even maybe make it a pleasant time with your children? Yes, I said pleasant in the same sentence as homework!! It is possible!
You know by now I am the Queen of routine and organization. Having a routine for homework just like other parts of the day helps children. It can eliminate an argument if they know that come 3.30pm or 4 o'clock, it's homework time. Homework time becomes predictable, just like tea time and bed time. It also saves you chasing them down everyday and screaming at them!
Our routine looks something like this. You do whatever suits your family, but make sure it's the same everyday!
Make a chart if you have to (like my 'get up and go' you can see here).
We all sit at the dining table together so I can easily help all 3 of my children.
If you are busy starting dinner, put them near you so you can still help.
I collected jars (jam, vegemite, sauce etc…) and use them to store lead pencils, coloured pencils, crayons, ruler, glue, sharpener and even a jar of special textas.
What some children take 15 minutes to complete, others take 30! If your child is struggling to complete tasks and homework is taking them far too long, go and speak to their teacher. Most teachers I know would be very willing to negotiate parts of the homework. For example, some children need an easier spelling list or less words to learn. Remember, you are your child's advocate!! You are their safe place!
Pepper your language with comments like
'I know you can do this!'
'You are so clever'
'I know you find this tricky but I'm so proud you're having a go!'
My middle son just looks at an assignment and literally throws his head onto the table! He would love nothing more than me doing the whole lot for him! So along with plenty of positive comments, I help him break it down. Some children need help to unpack a big page of work. Help them but don't do it for them! Ask questions, help them research etc…
If you are working on something, set achievable goals and reward them once they've achieved it. For example, my son was behind in learning his times tables. Once he could fluently recite one lot to me, he earned $2.
Good luck getting them back to the table once you've allowed the tv to be turned on or let them go outside! Teach them they have a responsibility and once they have completed it, they can have the freedom to play. This is simply teaching them a life skill. You are actually doing them a favour here!
We leave the reading component until bedtime. My boys love using their torches to read in their beds. They find it fun, it helps them wind down before sleep and before we know it, they've read for twenty minutes or so. Reading is so important and this makes it fun too! If school readers are boring, consider asking the teacher if they can read something else. There are so many brilliant series out there that kids can't get enough of! Here are just a few:
Some nights, let them read on the ipad for something different. There are clubs on the internet that allow children to collect and read books in a 'virtual library'.
...it is very obvious the children who do and don't receive support at home from mum or dad with their homework. Please help your child! It really does make all the difference in the world to them!
X x Renee
Renee is an experienced educator who specialises in literacy for young children. She grew up in a single parent home and is a regular speaker to community groups around Australia on this subject. She now has three children of her own.You can read The Organised Mummy's full profile here
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