Creating a Homework Haven

Guest post by Dr. Colleen Carroll of Innovative Reading:

Creating a Homework Haven at Home 

Back-to-school season (for our friends in the southern hemisphere) and the return after winter break,  can be a distressing time. While some of the angst around this return to routine makes sense – after all, days get colder and shorter (or warmer..) and we need to get back to tighter schedules and earlier bedtimes – there are also a few things we can do to ease this transition and actually make it an empowering time for kids.

Many kids dread, and even fear homework.

(And, this is me - Janet - chiming in...note that there is a new trend to minimize or eliminate homework in the young grades. See this study.)

Even the word "homework" can spark anxiety in some children (and parents!).

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Screen Shot 2016-08-06 at 2.55.01 PM

This is understandable; as kids get older the homework gets harder and the time spent on it gets longer. However, you can be prepared in advance and lessen anxiety by creating a homework sanctuary of sorts for your child to feel safe, even empowered, as he gets his work done.

The following are my top 5 ways to empower your child at homework time:

  1. Create a homework haven in the house somewhere that’s bright, cheery, and full of all the items he needs to get his work done efficiently, with minimal distractions. Consider the kitchen to be close to a helpful parent, or a bedroom if noise can be a problem.

  2. Don’t let it be obvious that you dread this time too. Children pick up on your emotional state. Instead, be as positive as you can about this learning experience, even when things get tough.

  3. If your child is having a rough time on homework, let the teacher know. There is no reason to struggle for hours over a few problems when really the child just needs more instruction.

  4. Get the hardest subjects done first when she is less tired; trying to tackle the hardest at the end is never a good idea!

  5. Set up an afternoon routine to get homework done before other evening activities whenever possible so it isn’t hanging over your child’s head.

Kids crave routine; they (and most adults) do best when they know what’s coming next and they can be ready for it.

By having a homework routine and a space that is comfortable and efficient, it probably won’t make homework fun but it will make it easier to accomplish and more organized for return to school the next day.

This in turn will definitely lessen the anxiety around homework in general and allow your child to focus on some more pleasurable activities each evening, perhaps even a little reading. 


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