homeworkHomework: I almost think parents dread it almost as much as kids do. We were lucky enough to avoid it for the first few years at my son's school, but now that he's in the third grade we're finally staring the homework monster in the eye. And we will not let it destroy us!

It helps to remember what the whole purpose of homework is: To reinforce what kids learn during the school day, and to make sure parents stay involved in their kids' education. Did you know -- parental involvement is even more important to your kids' acacemic success than the quality of their school?

I'm still learning how to support my son the right way when he does his homework. Here's some suggestions I've found especially helpful.

1. Get it done first. Before your child gets sucked into TV or video games or anything else non-essential, get to that homework first. Avoid that extra layer of anxiety that comes with trying to get it done too late in the evening.

2. Work away from distractions. TV and homework don't mix! You know your kid, and you know what distracts them. Whatever it is, make sure they have enough space away from it so they can really focus on their work. Remind them that they'll get their homework done faster this way.

3. Get it all together first. Make sure your child gathers all the supplies, books, and materials they need first before they get started. That reduces interruptions.

4. Be curious and positive. It's not just about completing a task -- ask about what your child has brought home. Be encouraging in as specific terms as possible. (Even if you personally think their homework assigment looks like busywork.)

5. Help with time management. Keep a clock handy, point out the time, and gently help your child be aware of its passage. This isn't to put pressure on them -- more to help them develop some awareness about not wasting time.

6. Take breaks. If your child has a lot of homework, let them take a quick break to clear their head. Try not to let them get drawn into a completely different activity, but a few stretches, or even switching to another subject can help a lot.

7. Help, but not too much. You know you're not supposed to do your kids' homework, right? If they have questions, it's okay to guide them but you shouldn't give them answers.

8. Lead by example. Show your kids you value education by learning new things yourself. Let them see you reading, too!

How do you handle homework in your home?

 

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