Homework does not have to be a constant battle or an exhaustive undertaking every day. These few strategies can lighten the completion time and hopefully reduce the stress at home and school.
1. Schedule an established time to do homework daily
Most children need set routines and schedules in order to feel success. Help your child find a time for homework that works out in both your daily schedules. Some children do best right after school, whereas others need an outside fresh air break first. Because you know your child better than anyone, find that perfect time and make it part of the daily routine.
2. Take 5-minute breaks after every 20 minutes
Find a structured break activity that your child can do after every 20 minutes of work. This could be a yoga stretch on the floor, deep breathing activities, etc. If you keep the break structured, the child will understand this as part of the routine and not a time to wander off and get distracted and lose focus. Short, frequent breaks help children recharge.
3. Let your child stop when they can’t continue on
If your child is too tired or frustrated to finish the homework, let him or her stop!
Experts in the field of education usually recommend 10 minutes of homework per subject per day. If your child’s homework sessions are taking longer than this, schedule a meeting with your child’s teacher to discuss the problems that your child is facing. It could be that the amount of homework is overwhelming or that it is too difficult for your child. If your child has problems focusing, writes and reads very slowly, or needs extra time understanding concepts, then homework will consistently take longer to get through. Make a plan with the teacher so that your child will feel success with homework and everyone’s time will be well spent.
4. Request an extra set of textbooks to use at home
Students with organizational issues often leave their books at school. This way you always have a copy at home. Having the homework material every day at home is crucial. Once a student falls behind in their coursework, it is extremely difficult to get caught up. Since so many schools do not have extra copies, you will probably need to purchase extra copies on your own.
5. Find the right location for your child to do daily homework
Make sure it has good lighting and a clear workspace with no clutter around. A child with learning differences and/or ADHD gets easily distracted at their workstations. Keep the homework area free of anything except a good supply of paper, sharpened pencils and a set of erasers, pens, and a computer.
6. Help your child organize papers for after school homework and prepare for the next school day
When your child has completed his/her homework, always praise them for a job well done. Watch your child put completed homework in the proper folders and put the papers that need to stay home in an accordion file that stays at the child’s workstation at home. All work that comes home should go in this labeled accordion file for future tests and quizzes. All work should be saved until the semester is over.
If a parent conveys the message that a child is capable and worthwhile, the child will begin to believe this. Being supportive, having a structured learning environment and consistent routines will encourage success and motivation at home.
Karina Richland, M.A., E.T. is the Director and Founder of Pride Learning Centers. A former teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District, Ms. Richland has devoted her life to the field of reading and learning disabilities, working as an educational therapist and director of Pride Learning Centers. Ms. Richland speaks frequently to parents, teachers, and professionals on learning differences, and writes for several journals and publications. You can learn more at: www.pridelearningcenter.com