Like so many other things, when it comes to homework, having a routine sets the stage for success. That’s helpful because whether we like it or not, today’s children are assigned homework as early as kindergarten.
Setting the ground rules early can save heartache to come.
As much as possible, it’s good to keep a regular schedule for after-school: snack and chill for 30-60 minutes followed by homework.
This frees up time after supper for other activities such as relaxing, playing, sports, clubs, etc.
As children grow, they are expected to take on more responsibility and ownership of their homework.
This includes time management. They may question the “tried-and-true” way of doing homework and may want to try working with music or other distractions nearby.
Experts generally agree that the fewer distractions the better, music being the least distracting among the choices.
The “homework wars” generally start in earnest when parents react angrily or become too controlling.
As soon as your children seem able, give them choices whenever possible.
What are some mutually agreeable spots for homework? What time will it be started? What time will it be completed?
How will homework and grades be monitored? Who will be responsible? How often will you meet to review progress?
Making clear agreements about homework and then monitoring the effectiveness of those agreements are the keys to success.
It’s okay to let your older child try something different for a day or two, or even a week, even if you don’t think it will work.
Why? We learn by doing and discovering what works and what doesn’t.
For parents, this is where efficiency and patience meet.
If a parent puts personal goals for “efficiency” aside and instead is patient and lets a child choose, he can learn what is efficient for him.
When your way turns out to be the best way, don’t gloat and ruin the lesson your child learned.
Express confidence in your child’s ability to continue to discover his own way to do his best.