|Helping your kids with their homework doesn't always require you to know the answers.|
Many times it's just about preparing them (and the area) for success. It's easy for them to get overwhelmed with the amount of homework they get sometimes, so here are some ways you can help:
1. Set routines and expectations- In our house, it's like clockwork: kids arrive home, grab a snack, get their homework out, do it, clean up, do chores, then have free time. It's been this way always. We have only been public schooling for 4 1/2 yrs. but even when we home schooled we had routines, and I, their teacher, had expectations. During certain times of the day they would learn. Play time was later. This has not changed. And, the best part is, they would do it this way even if I weren't here (because they have become accustom to doing it this way; it's second nature).
2. Provide the best place for doing homework- Ideally that is a quiet, comfortable area away from distractions. No tv or radio on, no one else in the family being loud or disruptive. Keeping other things to a minimum while it's 'homework' time helps kids feel respected and offers them the best environment.
3. Have the necessary supplies on hand- It's not always convenient to keep poster board and fresh markers on hand, but it should be something you try to store in a closet or under a bed for when kids come home with projects needing done. When they have supplies ready and within reach, they are more apt to avoid procrastination; they have no excuse when all the supplies are handy. Keep on hand graph paper, ruler, tape, stapler, erasers and calculator. If you can afford a computer and the internet, it would help them a lot since most schools are assigning homework online as young as third grade.
4. Time- Kids shouldn't be rushed to do their homework so the family can get out the door. If this is happening all too often, you have some tough choices to make. Some kids learn slower and need more time to execute problems, so they are usually the ones who need a bit more time to do their studies. If this is a common problem, and your son or daughter isn't always done before it's time to eat dinner and head out to soccer practice, it might be time to make a tough decision. Quit soccer and pick it up the following year. Kids need to know that academics have precedence over sports; in most cases being a great kicker or goalie will not support them, or a family, in the long run (unless of course they're going pro, but chances are, you'll still want them to have a complete education).
5. Back up plans- If you are not going to be home when your kids arrive, or if you are pretty sure your kids will not be able to finish their homework before a scheduled event (like a choir concert or football game) allow the kids who aren't participating in the event bring their homework along. Take along extra pencils, a strong book or clipboard, laptop and other supplies to help them get their work done. If you have to, sit in the car until it's about time to go into the event so that your other children have time to work on their studies.
6. Communicate with your children's teachers- Teachers have email. All teachers have email and most of them without a doubt understand time constraints and that things do come up. Ask your child's teacher for an extra day to complete their work. You'd be surprised how many teachers will oblige.