Blog, Education, Habits, Power struggles, Setting Clear Limits, Strategies

Stop the homework battles

New year, fresh start – maybe this year, the homework struggles will cease! Einstein defined insanity as, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting it to change. The reality is, if homework was a struggle before Christmas, it likely will be now.

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If you are a hardened homework parent, you may be reflecting on previous homework battles and frustrations, hesitant to jump into it yet again. One of the most common questions we answer is, “Why do my kids need homework?”

In addition to providing children with the opportunity to practice and improve academic skills, homework can help children to learn responsibility, self-discipline, independence, perseverance and time management; skills which can further an individual’s success in all areas of life.

Parenting is about teaching our children to teach themselves. By supporting them in acheiving their scholastic goals and requirements, we help them to feel capable. If we value education, our children must see it in our actions in addition to our words.

Here are a 5 tips to help parents and children make the most of doing homework.

1. Keep the Balance

Whose homework is it? As parents we’ve already done many years of homework. Too much parental involvement results in a system out of balance.  A parent’s role is that of a facilitator, supporting and promoting the homework process but playing only a brief role. Rather than expecting perfection, allow the teacher to see where a child has difficulty. This can help the teacher know what the student still needs to learn.

2. Routine

Reestablish family routines, including expectations for homework. Discuss ground rules for homework and allow your children to be active participants in this discussion (example: Math first, thenReading). Involvement allows the child to feel like in control over the situation. Plan a productive time when homework fits into the daily schedule. This may vary with extra-curricular commitments.

3. A Place for Homework

Establish a consistent homework location. This will support the routine. Allowing the homework to occupy center stage in your home may result in too much parental participation. Some children work better with music in the background, others don’t. Find out what works well for your child. It may be different for one child than for another…that’s okay – they are different people with different needs.

4. Supplies

Children spend a lot of time not doing homework while looking for a missing ruler or eraser. Create a box of supplies that are kept at the homework location sot that the pursuit of the ruler does not land them in front of the television.

5. What You Should Expect

We all know that old habits are hard to break, so don’t expect a quick fix. Change can be fragile, particularly in the early stages and relapses can occur. Try not to slip back into taking more responsibility than your role should have. Talk with your child’s teacher if homework is taking longer than you expect. With open communication between teacher, student and parent, everyone can gain from this process.

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