I’ll admit something to you that I don’t admit to my children: Homework stinks.
While I would definitely prefer to let the kids play every day from the end of school to bedtime . . . the reality is that most kids, even in the youngest grades, have homework.
Every year we have to tweak our homework routine a little, and the logistics definitely get complicated with more kids in school. There are a few things that I’ve learned are key in establishing a homework routine that works.
A Homework Time
With after-school activities varying by the day of the week and even the season, the key is to look for a general time when you are most consistently home. Even if one day of the week has a different schedule, having a general routine will help you stay on track.
For example, we have our homework time in the afternoon because most of our activities are evening sports practices. On days when there is a club meeting right after school, we still follow the same routine. We come home (though later than usual), have a snack and chat time, and get to work.
If the weather is beautiful and an energetic child needs to blow off some energy, we stop at a park so that the routine stays the same once we’re home. For some families, an after dinner homework time is best.
A Homework Spot
Having a set place for each child to do homework helps them keep track of materials and provides consistency in the overall routine. In our home, it doesn’t work well for all three kids to be at the same table working, so each child has a specific place. One takes the dining room table, another the breakfast table, and one sprawls on his bed. Each child’s place fits his/her study style, and the one who most needs my help is nearby as I work in the kitchen.
Homework isn’t always fun, but it is a great opportunity to allow kids to use strategies that aren’t possible in the classroom setting. Singing spelling words, racing to finish math problems before Dad can do the same ones, reading while spread out on the carpet . . . are all strategies that may help your child relax and absorb academic concepts in a fresh way.