Taming the homework beast

Those homework battles are brewing right now.  It’s that time of year when the rubber meets the road as far as conferences and report cards go, and sadly, they aren’t always happy or glowing reports. The most natural reaction is to put pressure on your child to do more and better homework.  For some, this might work, but if your child suffers from a learning disability, this method will surely backfire.

Once you’re involved in a negative homework cycle with your child, it’s hard to step out of it.

I gave you a few tips last week.  Here are some more ways to tame the homework beast.  Keep in mind that those hours after school and into the evening are precious, and it’s important to make them beneficial and positive.

  1. Play soothing classical background music.  This often helps these students concentrate and keeps the right side of the brain entertained so it can’t get into as much mischief.
  2. Talk to the teacher or school about making your child’s homework shorter. Most districts have guidelines as to how many hours a night should be spent on homework, and your child shouldn’t be exceeding those guidelines.
  3. Try to stay positive.  Don’t criticize your child if he is trying his best.  If his handwriting is messy, let it go until some interventions have been made to help the handwriting. Keep from picking or analyzing.  Just get the job done as quickly and in the best way possible.
  4. Consider other schooling options if your child is having too much homework and the teacher or school is inflexible, especially if your child is young.
  5. Don’t get into a negative cycle with your child over homework.  Yes, the child needs to learn to do assignments but to be honest, homework isn’t that important, and children rarely learn much from it.  However, if you choose to engage in making homework a priority, then make sure you mean business when it’s homework time.
  6. Don’t go into lengthy explanations or try to be a teacher concerning homework.  Just give brief explanations.  If your child doesn’t know how to do the homework, send a note or call the next day.  Homework should not be given that the child cannot do independently.
  7. Work toward independence.  Set a timer.  Walk away for two minutes.  Come back and check.  Too many parents are emotionally involved in the homework process and the student never learns to do the work herself because she knows that mom or dad will stand over her until it gets done.

Don’t succumb to your child’s pouting, tantrums, fits or manipulations.  If it’s homework time, then that means business.  The sooner it’s over, the sooner you can all go onto something more fun and meaningful.

To your child’s success,

Lisa