Homework. Is that as dirty of a word to you as it’s always been to me? Whether it’s the lingering nightmares that I forgot that all important project or dreading bringing up the word to my kindergartener, who already gives me all the grief of a teenager, homework can be one of my least favorite things to deal with. There are a mass of great tips out there about ways to make homework less painful like designating workspace and times for homework, taking the right number of breaks and using graphic organizers. So instead of rehashing the same tips that you can find everywhere else, I’m going to cover a few ideas that are all about our involvement as parents.
Attitude. I’ve given a perfect example of the first thing that we as parents need to change. Children are perceptive little creatures. Even if they don’t understand what they’re perceiving, they pick up on our attitudes and vibes toward things. So if we’re giving off negative vibes toward homework, they’re going to feel it. So how do we check those negative vibes? By remembering the true purpose of homework…
Learning. It’s about helping the child learn, not about getting perfect scores. Learning is a messy business and it doesn’t come from being perfect. Even if you’re looking at that end of term project that requires a visual aid, an essay and your child to dress up as some long dead scientist and wondering how in the world this assignment is going to help your child remember the order of the planets, keep in mind that there is something that can be learned. As absurd as those projects are and feel, they give you an opportunity to teach your child the pleasure of accomplishing a difficult task. And if they choose not to complete an assignment, they get the pleasure of learning tough consequences.
Tone. Have you ever used the phrase, “don’t speak to me with that tone of voice?” Well, sometimes that phrase goes both ways. A lot of the time we know the reaction we’re going to get when we ask if homework has been done or suggest that it gets done because we all know it hasn’t. So we start the conversation with our lecturing-parent-get-up already on. The problem we run into here is that tone of voice gets our child’s defenses from up the moment we start and we’re left with a child that’s prepped to fight. So something as simple as softening our voices can make a huge impact…if we’re patient.
Every child is different. Find what works for them. Some children need that well organized desk space while others need to be sprawled out across the living room floor. Some need music or other things to block out distractions while others need silence. Some need to jump right in as soon as they get home from school and others need a significant break. As parents, we can just observe and help them discover what kinds of conditions they need and then do our best to make sure those conditions are met.
Keep your heads up, those seemingly endless nights of homework don’t last forever. And remember, as we make changes, those changes take time and the ball is in their court. We can only do what we can do and then we have to leave it up to them to do the work.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs