HOMEWORK BLUES!

When It Comes To Doing Homework Does Your Child Feel Overwhelmed?

When It Comes To Doing Homework Does Your Child Feel Overwhelmed?

Does your child get overwhelmed when facing a pile of homework? Do they sometimes melt down and take forever to get it finished? Do you sometimes wonder if you could do it for them just to avoid the stress of them doing it? If you answered yes to any of these questions then please read on…

 

The first couple of years in intermediate classes can be tough for kids.  The work gets more challenging, teachers assign more homework and projects expecting more detail, things are harder to understand and grades really start to matter. It can be overwhelming for kids to go from having a little bit of homework in grade 3 to a lot in grade 4 depending on who their teacher is.

I remember when my kids were in grade four and five. They would get so overwhelmed with homework that sometimes I wished I could just do it for them so I could stop fighting with them and  just get it out of the way. Of course that wasn’t the answer, the answer was to help them establish a routine so the homework would get done and not feel like such a chore.

Homework Routine:

Make sure your child brings everything home:

Right when you pick them up from school, before they get to play on the playground have a quick read through their School Planner to see what homework your child is supposed to bring home that day. Then have your child check his/her backpack to make sure it is all in there.

This routine has always paid off because 9 times out of 10 my kids have had to run back into the school to get the books or homework sheet they had forgotten. Five minutes on the playground saved me countless trips back to the school after we got home to retrieve the missing pieces of homework and believe me when we forgot to check, we did have to go back.

Give your child a break:

Kids are tired when they first get home from school. They have been working hard all day so having them sit down again and do homework as soon as they get home might not produce the best results. Every child is different some children will need to have a run around break outside or some downtime maybe watching a quiet show or computer time for half an hour before they get into their homework. Other children will want to get started right away and get it done so they can do what they want later. Let your child help plan their evening so they can be the most productive with their time.

Make time for a Healthy Snack:

Making time in your child’s break for a healthy snack is so important. A healthy afterschool snack will rejuvenate your child and give them the energy needed to get started on their homework.  Sit together and have tea or hot chocolate and some healthy brain food snacks like fresh fruit, granola bars, mixed nuts or my kids favourite a grilled cheese sandwich. The time together will give you the opportunity to discuss your child’s day, any homework they have and together you can come up with a plan to get it finished.

Getting down to business The Homework Zone:

It helps to set your child up for success. Have a quiet area for them to study in and preferably at this age somewhere you are close by if they have any questions. The kitchen table was and the most popular spot in our home. I could make dinner and my kids could ask questions if they didn’t understand something. Make sure they have all the papers necessary to do the work in front of them before they start.

Review the instructions with your child:

Before starting their homework review the instructions with them so they are clear on what has to be done. Kids will work much faster knowing exactly what they are supposed to be doing than if they have to continually go back to the instructions and figure it out. This is especially important when tackling math homework. If you review the examples of the questions at the beginning of the chapter in their textbook before they start their math homework everything will be fresh in your child’s mind as they work through the problems. Teach them to focus on one subject at a time with a 5 minute mini break in between subjects so that they can re-energize themselves for the next subject.

Having trouble getting your child to study their spelling words? Try putting a little dry “Jello” powder mix on a plate or tray, spread it out and let them practice writing their words with their finger. Worked for my kids every time.

Get everything ready for the next day:

Once your child is finished their homework have them place it immediately into their backpack ready to go back to school the next day. Nothing will get forgotten at home and they will have it ready to hand into their teacher.

Remember Good study skills are an excellent practice for your child to learn now and will only benefit them in the long run. When they get to High School and have to study for exams they will thank you. The more study skills you can teach them now the better prepared they will be later on in life.

What is a Mental Health Day?

Have you ever had a really stressful month and just wished you could take a day off?  I remember times at work when it was stressful or I had had enough and I would wish so bad to take a day off I would end up getting sick just to have one. Had I taken the vacation day when I needed it to relax and take care of myself I would have probably stayed healthy. When I had children I made a promise to myself that I would teach them by example to take care of themselves.

Stressed? Maybe you need a Mental Health Day!

Stressed? Maybe you need a Mental Health Day!

Our children lead such busy lives today between school, homework, sports and afterschool activities no wonder they sometimes feel overwhelmed. Allowing them to take a mental health, me day or de-stress day and honor their bodies teaches them to listen to and respect their bodies needs and helps them keep up with their busy life.  My children would choose a day in the week when there were no tests or important events happening at school and take a day off. I would let the school know they were not coming in that day and write them a note. They would usually start their day by sleep in, relaxing, watch some TV or getting caught up on all the homework that was overwhelming them. Sometimes we would do something fun together like bake cookies, go out for lunch or go to a movie. Where we live it very rarely snowed so the first time it snowed on a school day in the year was always a Mental Health Day! They especially loved those days and spent all day outside playing only coming in for hot chocolate and lunch.

A Mental health day is a privilege I did not want my children to abuse so they were allowed three days per year. They got to choose when they wanted to take them and had to give me a few days notice so I could arrange a day off of work or a visit to grandma’s for the day. My children loved that they could control it and take one when they really needed it and always caught up on any homework they missed.

When my oldest daughter was in grade 8 she was so comfortable in taking care of herself that one day after midterms she went up to her science teacher and said, “Mr. Smith, I need time to catch up so I am not coming to your class today. Could I please have the notes for the day so I can review them for the test next class?” Her teacher was surprised at her honesty, as not many grade 8 students would come and tell him when they were going to skip his class. He still would not give her the homework until she brought in her parent note the next day but he did honor her reason for the time off.

Over the years my children have not always needed to use their three days per year but they always knew if they ever needed it, their mom would support them in taking care of themselves for a day.

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Disclaimer

The information on this site is based on the personal experience of the author. There are no guarantees of a perfect method to raise a child, it is all trial and error. Please feel free to try some of the suggestions on this site and let me know how you make out. If you would like to use any words or pictures from this blog please contact me for written permission. © 2013

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