Is Homework Even Worth the Hassle?

With the school year nearly half over (or just beginning with our southern hemisphere friends) and you may be fed up with tears and frustration about homework at your house.

Do your kids find a million other things to do when it is time to do homework?

Do you nag and nag some more and still it doesn't seem to get done?

Do they say they don't have any?

Do they do it - and then never turn it in?


Is Homework even Valuable?

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently said, “…Free and unstructured play is healthy and – in fact – essential for helping children reach important social, emotional, and cognitive developmental milestones as well as helping them manage stress and become resilient.”

That's great but what do you do in the face of school-driven expectations for homework?

6 Tips for Homework Success  

1. Do not ask him immediately after school how his day was. You'll likely get a one-syllable answer! Wait until much later in the evening or until he initiates a conversation.

2. Allow time after school to decompress. Make sure this time involves food, water, fresh air and unstructured play/exercise (and no screens!)

3. Discuss with your child their preferred time and place for homework. Enlist his help in creating that ideal space. Then agree on when he will do the work - after a play time? after dinner? Let him take the lead in deciding.

4. SCREENS come last. Your child may say he needs the computer to do his work. But what can be done before screens come out? He can storyboard before he types that draft (handwriting increases his thinking capacity more than typing); he can go to the library and use encyclopedias (SO old-fashioned I know, but somehow supremely satisfying!). Check with teacher to see how much screen time is actually required

.5. When he is using the computer for homework, make sure he's got all other browser windows, instant messaging, etc. turned off.  His cell phone is turned off.  No computer work in the bedroom!

6. Create a system for tracking assignments and projects - short and long term. Boys can be challenged to create a workable system. Implement it and monitor to see if it is successful. The more they can take ownership of the process, the more successful they will be.

What about that forgotten homework?

Do NOT bring assignments, reports, or instruments to school when you get that call.

Your child must be held accountable for forgetting - talking to the teacher may provide just enough discomfort that he'll be sure to remember it the next time!


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