The start of a new school year brings fresh supplies and new outfits ... and their less-welcome cousin, homework. How will you handle daily homework sessions in your organized home?
To stave off homework battles, it pays to make a plan. Creating a homework routine undercuts foot-dragging, while setting up a homework station keeps distractions to a minimum.
Ready to plan for homework? Try these tips to get it done swiftly, done right during the coming school year.
Rely On Routines
Expect a child to wing it with homework assignments, and you're likely to end up with a turkey of a problem. Without the structure of a homework routine, procrastination rules the household, leading to nightly conflict. Instead, rely on the power of routine to get the job done on a regular basis.
Add a dedicated time for homework to the household's after-school routines. With an established progression of arrival home, after-school snack and a homework hour, you'll ensure that school-agers complete assignments in good time for enjoying a family evening.
Older children may require more flexibility, as their workload is both heavier and more diverse. Setting aside a no-television/no-media time after dinner will encourage teens to speed their work in order to relax afterward--and will make sure that parents are available if help is needed.
Establish A Homework Center
The old days of pencil-and-paper homework meant that students needed little more than a flat surface and a chair to complete assignments. Not anymore! The rise of technology has changed the face of homework from solitary struggle to multi-media effort. The old solution of "bedroom desk facing the wall" is no longer adequate or sufficient for today's pupils.
Search the household for an appropriate place to set up a homework center. Good lighting and a work area are the starting points, along with access to a computer/tablet and printer. Younger students tend to stay closer to parents as they work, while 'tweens and teens may distance themselves physically--or via headsets or music--so keep children's preferences in mind when you set up a homework center.
Let Your Child Lead
To make homework time more pleasant, go with your child's flow when it comes to getting the work done. A teen flopped on the floor or reclining on a sofa may not look like an adult's idea of a serious student, but as long as the work gets done on time, posture can be a non-issue. Some students find music an asset as they work, while others are distracted by it. Knowing your child's preferences helps craft a homework plan that the whole family can live with.
Plan For Accountability
Finally, give some thought to how you'll monitor homework assignments and track completion in the coming months.
Does your child use a student planner? By middle school, homework assignments are too numerous to be left to memory, so even if the school does not teach planner use, it's time to train your student to record each day's assignments and track their completion in writing.
Work with teachers to ensure good communication between home and school. Knowing assignments and due dates will help you keep children on track and accountable for their work--and arm you against childish foot-dragging.
Most of all, remember to step back and let the child work. Homework can teach responsibility and independence ... so once you cover the basics of when and where and how? Let them learn!