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Homework: everyone dreads it, or at least everyone I’ve ever known does. Once school is over, everyone seems to breathe a sigh of relief. When you have kids, the homework eventually returns. It can be overwhelming to get your kids to focus on it. It’s also a real challenge to try and help them when you’ve been out of school for years. If you have homework problems, here are some simple solutions.
With all three of my kids, we had a set schedule of when we started and usually when we stopped. Different times work for different kids, so don’t be afraid to change times. Nothing needs to be set in stone, but it helps if you’ve got a rough idea.
If you’ve got the room, having a set place for homework is helpful. Lots of light, some pens and pencils, and extra paper never hurts to have. If you don’t have room (or the time to set one up), try to keep where you do homework the same. Kids do great with routines, and it’ll make your life much easier as well.
Turn off the TV and put the tablets away (unless you need them for the homework itself). I know it’s not easy, but keep at it, and if things need to change, change them! Adapting to different needs can be hard, but sometimes it makes life much easier down the line.
Let them do their own work. Seriously, it can be tempting to hover or help them with every step, but homework is designed for their learning. If they struggle or ask for help it’s okay to lend a helping hand, but letting your child do most of it themselves helps build independence and time management later in life. You can sit with them to make sure they stay on task, but do your best not to hold their hand. It’ll take practice, so don’t worry if it doesn’t go perfectly at first.
That being said, don’t make your child think that asking for help is bad. It’s not! Everyone needs help sometimes, and there’s no shame in that. Google is your friend, trust me. There’s plenty of free educational sites that offer simple steps and tutorials (and sometimes packets) to help teach both of you.
Everyone likes being told they did a good job, and it’ll help to keep your child motivated to keep up with their work.
If homework is still challenging kids beyond their current abilities, getting a tutor can be a great help. It takes the pressure off you, so you can either focus on other chores or relax instead of worrying about their homework and grades. Getting a good tutor will require lots of research and asking around, but it’s completely worth it if you can find someone you trust.
If your child is having issues focusing in the classroom, then seeking professional help might not be a bad idea. It seems scary, but once you’ve got a name on it, it makes research to help your child much, much easier. Plus, it can help if your child needs extra assistance in the classroom. There’s nothing wrong with needing help, and sometimes it goes beyond what you can do alone. Remember that it’s not your fault, and it’s not your child’s fault either. The two of you can face the problems together.
If you’re curious about sources on the benefits (and possible drawbacks) of homework, an excellent article can be found here: https://www.readingrockets.org/article/key-lessons-what-research-says-about-value-homework
Reading Rockets is a fantastic resource for helping teach kids to read and get them excited about reading. The internet is full of so many sources that it can be hard to find ones that are helpful rather than harmful. Research is always tedious, but it’s always worth it. Find Reading Rockets at https://www.readingrockets.org/
And if you really want to step up your game, The Plaid Giraffe sells educational mats by Melissa and Doug, for kids aged three and up! They’re educational AND fun! Shop our toys now at https://plaidgiraffechildrensboutique.com/collections/melissa-amp-doug
Keep going strong! No one fully knows what they’re doing when it comes to perfect parenting, and we’re all learning together.