What is it about homework that wears families out? Even newbie grade-schoolers, who love doing it at first, often lose their enthusiasm and start stalling. And after a long day, you just want your kiddo to knuckle down so you can get dinner on the table or start the bedtime routine. But playing cop rarely works — micromanaging and nagging only make kids feel stupid or frustrated.
Think of yourself as a coach and cheerleader. Their work-like-magic tips are guaranteed to bring harmony back into your homework routine, whether your child is a kindergartner or a fifth-grader, a whiner or a procrastinator! On days when there are no afternoon activities, give your child a time frame — say, between 3 p. This gives her some control over her schedule some kids need a longer break after school, and others need to start right away to keep the momentum going.
If you work, that means homework duties will fall to the after-school caregiver. From kindergarten on, kids need a list of three or four classmates they can call on when they forget an assignment, says Ann Dolin, M.
The study buddy can read your child the spelling words over the phone, or his mom can snap a pic of the worksheet and text it to you. That alone can help him remember how to do the rest. Then heap on the praise: Try the next one now. You don't understand what your teacher is saying, and your parents teach you another method. Instead, send an e-mail or note to the teacher asking her to please explain the material to your child again.
If your child is a fourth-grader or older, have him write the note or talk to the teacher. It's important that he learns how to speak up for himself. The teacher will likely have office hours earmarked for those who need help. Also ask her about specific websites many school textbooks now have practice sites kids can use in conjunction with the material in the book or check out an online tutoring site like growingstars. Some kids do best with a desk set up in their bedroom so they can work independently; others want to be smack in the middle of the kitchen while you cook dinner.
Mayzler recommends letting kids choose their preferred study spot. Wherever your child does homework, keep it distraction-free—no TV, video games, or loud siblings playing nearby. Of course, it's okay—and actually necessary—to sit with 5-or 6-year-olds while they do homework. However, your goal should be to help less over time and move physically farther from where your child works.
Laura Laing and her partner, Gina Foringer, make a point of staying out of the room where their daughter, Zoe, 11, does homework. That way, Zoe is encouraged to think through her work on her own before asking a parent for help. Even when Zoe asks a question, Laing often responds with more questions instead of answers.
Zoe often works out her own solution by talking it through with her mom. When it comes to proofing a homework assignment, less is definitely better. Check a few answers to ensure that your child understands what's she's doing, but don't go over the entire page. After all, your child's teacher needs an accurate measure of whether she really understands the work.
Although you may feel guilty at first, it's smart to have a one-strike rule when it comes to forgetting homework. If your child leaves her assignment or lunch, gym clothes, or other items, for that matter at home and calls, begging you to bring it to school, bail her out, say, only once each grading period.
For many kids, just one missed recess or whatever the teacher's policy is for not turning in homework usually improves their memory, says Cathy Vatterott, Ph. Louis and author of Rethinking Homework.
But chronically disorganized kids may need more hand-holding. Does he forget some assignments because they're in a different folder? Vatterott and other educators are now advocating for changes in the way homework is assigned and used in the United States requiring teachers to prove the usefulness of assignments, discouraging teachers from grading homework, and more.
She encourages parents to do so, too. A project can be a fun way for parents and kids to bond, but if you feel like it's taking up too much of your time, it probably is. If your third-grader is spending an hour and a half on just her math homework, for instance, that's way too much. Sometimes teachers honestly underestimate how long an assignment will take.
If your child routinely works long hours because she's struggling, also talk to the teacher.
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