Cool Ideas

Beat the Homework Blues!

School’s back in session and like it or not, that means homework has returned, too. Summer’s laid-back ways are abruptly replaced with busy days packed from start to finish with school, sports, extracurricular activities, and last but not least – homework! If your child has moved up to middle school or high school, you’re likely noticing the increase in homework amounts by now. Here are some parent tips for maintaining sanity (and dare we say, a little relaxing family time each evening?) when handling the homework.

  1. Set up a routine. Get this in place a.s.a.p. Once your child is home from school (or after-school activities), provide him with a healthy, relaxing snack or dinner. This will help him to settle down and focus on the homework.
  2. Review the homework list and decide where to start. On any given day, you may decide to have your child complete her “easy” homework first until you have time to sit and help her with any more difficult homework or studying – or vice versa. Try to be close on hand if possible to help your child if she gets stuck.
  3. Written/reading homework is one thing; studying is another. Be sure your child devotes time each day to studying for any tests the following day. Making studying a routine part of homework can really improve his test scores!
  4. Read your child’s mood and energy level. Is she in need of a break after an hour’s worth of hard work? Let her take a 10-minute refresher before returning for Round 2.
  5. Designate any TV or video game time as a reward for your child’s having thoroughly completed his homework. View this electronics time as a post-homework, added bonus -- rather than a regular, earlier part of the day that would only pump up his adrenaline and delay homework (and bed!) time.
  6. Use the Internet as a resource for additional helpful homework-related tips. This Homework Tips site provides useful tidbits such as a breakdown of the elements of a research paper, tips on preparing for oral exams, more school-work organization tips (like the simple-yet-helpful idea to color code your supplies!), and so on.

Getting into an organized, daily homework routine will help keep everyone happy on those hectic nights. Homework is only one part of the long day, so keeping this piece manageable will go a long way.