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Taming the Homework Monster – At Every Age and Every Grade

An Overview of Homework

Don’t worry if you are sfeeling challenged already. Homework can be difficult for families. Many kids don’t like it and many parents don’t know how and when to help.
Homework is beneficial to students, as it reinforces lessons learned at school.
Homework should be a review of school work, not an introduction of new material.
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Homework helps children to learn responsibility, time management, and confidence.
Work first, then play. Homework first, and then your child can go outside to play, call a friend, or play a video game.

Toddlers and Homework

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No, toddlers do not yet have homework but they certainly can disrupt their older siblings who do.
While your kids are doing their homework, toddlers can be occupied with a simple art project, a quiet game, stories, or even a quiet DVD. Your school age kids will be distracted by a toddler who is running around or grabbing at papers and books.
Your toddler does not have to be perfectly quiet (no classroom is perfectly quiet), but we can begin teaching toddlers that “homework time is quiet time”. Not only will your older kids benefit, but when your toddler becomes a kid with homework, some lessons will have already been taught.

Kids and Homework

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There are three important steps to supporting your kids’ success with their homework:
Homework Station: Choose a spot in your home where your kids will do their homework every night. Having a set spot reduces the amount of time spent every night debating where homework
will be done.
Homework Kit: Find a small box or tote and fill it with school tools, such as pencils, pens, sharpener, scissors, eraser, crayons, paper and any other items that your kids need to complete their homework. Keep this kit in your child’s homework station. This reduces the amount of time spent every night first looking for a pencil…and then a sharpener…and then an eraser.
Homework Time: Choose a time daily that your child will do their homework. The time will vary for each child on each day, and will be based on other activities such as sports and music lessons, but should be planned in advance. Consistency is important! This reduces the amount of time spent every night debating when homework will be started.

Teens and Homework

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Computers should be kept in public places, not in a teen’s bedroom. It is not possible to monitor your teen’s computer activities while they are closed up in their rooms. It is appropriate to supervise your teen’s homework and grades, but as they get older, our supervision needs to be reduced. Teens need to handle their schoolwork well because they are motivated to do so – not because we demand it. You are not going to college with them, so really begin backing off the last two years of high school.
Allow your teen to handle their schoolwork on their own IF things are going well. If their grades drop, or you get calls and letters, from teachers, then you need to get more involved.
Teach your teen to complete their homework before checking Facebook, going on You-Tube,
or chatting with friends.
Express the expectation that your teen will do their best. Ask your teen what grade they think they can earn, and make that the lowest acceptable grade. (Not every teen is a straight A student!)
Computers and cell phones should be turned off at least 30 minutes before bed. Collect them both from your teen if you do not trust them to keep them off at bedtime.

Homework Assistance at Every Age

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Remember that it is your kid’s assignment, not yours. You already went to school;
now it’s their turn.
Offer support to get your child started on their assignments. Sit with younger children while they do the first problem, and then walk away. With older children, review each assignment with them, make sure they know what is expected, and then walk away.
Allow your child to achieve their own success, and to experience their own failure.
Expect your child to do their best, not to be perfect.
Be willing to help your kids when they request it, but do not allow them to be rude to you. Tell your kids, “I will help you, but if you are rude, I will walk away.” And then follow through!
Focusing mainly on grades encourages your child to cheat, or at least to accept cheating as acceptable and normal. Focus on learning, not on grades.

 

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