In my last article, Back, Back, Back to School Again, I shared how going back to school was always bitter sweet for me. I was happy to see my friends and teachers but I wasn’t happy to loose all the time spent playing video games and going to the movies. In the article, I shared a note I would leave my mom with my thoughts of starting another year of school. Now that everyone is getting back into the swing of things again, you know what comes next? The dreaded homework!
Not too many kids get happy and excited when it comes to homework. One of the things you can do in the beginning of the school year is set some basic ground rules on how and when homework is to be done. Here are a seven strategies you can try to make homework a more pleasurable experience for you and your children.
1) Visit your child’s classroom or school at the beginning of the school year. By establishing a relationship early on with your child’s teachers, it will be easier to connect if you ever need to. This truly makes a difference for you as a parent. Even while I was in high school my mom made a point to attend back to school night. She was always surprised at home many parents did not show up. Showing up gives you a feel for the teacher and you get to know the teachers philosophy and expectations about homework. If your child tells you a particular teacher never gives homework, you will know because the teacher told you themselves.
2) Ask about homework. Do not assume your child will tell you what homework they have. If you come home after they should have finished their homework, ask if they completed it. You don’t want to seem as if you are on their back about it, but you do want to know if they had any difficulties with any of their assignments. If they did, give them a chance to say how they are going to get help and provide guidance as needed.
3) Have a place for your child to do homework. I never really had a place to do my homework. Most of the time I would sit on the steps to do it. It was actually quite comfortable to me but, if we had established a place early on, I believe my grades and focus would have been a little better. Make sure the lighting is good and that there are extra pencils, pens and paper near by.
4) Know what works best for your child. My mom use to insist that I do my homework shortly after getting home from school. I was often a little irritable and could not focus as well. While at a conference she was speaking to a colleague about personality types and behaviors. I was also at the conference. When she met me, she said I bet you need down time before you start your home work. My mom and I decided to give it a try and boy did it make a big difference. My mom was the type who liked to come home and get her homework done or she even finished it in school before she got home. That didn’t work for me. I needed time to decompress before I got started. Consider your child’s personality and what will work best for them.
5) Turn of the TV, well maybe… Most parents, teachers and experts will tell you turn off the TV when your child is doing their homework. Well, that did not work for me. I needed the background noise. When the house was quiet, it took twice as long for me to do my homework. I wouldn’t watch the TV, it was just having the sounds playing that made the difference. Just like when your child does their homework, this is also one of those things to determine what works for them. It may not need to be the TV on, consider some background music as well.
6) Volunteer at your child’s school. You are probably wondering how does this help with homework. Well, for me, it created a mind shift. The teachers and counselors at the school knew my mom and knew what she expected of me. Other students knew my mom, and they knew what she expected but also how she was always willing to help. If your work schedule makes it hard to volunteer often, volunteer for special activities, or an hour here or there. The time spent will make a major impact on your child and the teachers will be grateful for your help.
7) Be the example. How many times has your child heard you say you need to get something done, but you end up putting it off, again, again and again. Next thing you know you are down to the wire getting it done just in time. Hmm, is this how you want them to do their homework? Your children are watching what you say and what you do. Set the example and show them how to get things done in a timely manner.
These are just a few strategies you can consider to make homework a more pleasurable experience. Keep in mind everything won’t work for everybody. Take in to account your child’s personality and develop a plan that works for both you and them.
DeJuan Owens is a guest blogger for Infinity Coaching, Inc. He shares tips and strategies for having successful and dynamic family relationships.