As summer is winding down and we are preparing our kids for back to school, I think about how I geared up for a new school year. I DID NOTHING!! I was not the most stellar student, so going back to school did not appeal to me in any way shape or form. As a single working mother of 2, I have to make sure my after school schedule is run like a mean fighting machine. Here are my tips to an afternoon of easy homework, happy kids and no arguments
Assess your child. Should they come home and go straight to work after being in school all day or do they need a break? Only you will know after trial and error which is right for your children. One day have them come home and go straight to work. If they seem like they are distracted and unable to settle down, let them run around for about an hour, then get back to homework. If they come home and play for an hour and can't seem to make the transition back into school mode, then they will need to do their work first.
Have a neat work space area for each child to do their own homework. Make sure they have all the necessary supplies to do their work.
Be available for SOME assistance. Save phone calls to friends for another time.
As many of children’s teachers have taught me, the parent is not the student. DO NOT DO THE WORK FOR THEM. You are not helping them by doing the work for them. Teachers always say: be a guide on the side. If your child does not understand the concepts of the homework, you should not be the one to explain. Chances are, you are not a teacher, you are a parent. Your job is to parent them, not teach them Algebra! This is great news, you are off the hook! No more fighting about doing homework. In addition to creating an adversarial relationship between you and your child, doing their work does not alert the teacher that your child needs extra attention with the subject.
Make a list of tasks that need to be completed after they have done their work but before they do their preferred activity. For example, I have my kids each make their lunches, put away laundry, complete their household chores, complete a fun physical activity and take a shower. Only after that list is complete and all homework is finished, then you can lose them to the abyss of electronics.
Your kids may give you some resistance about doing homework. The key is to stay calm, don’t yell and don’t show any fear. You are the parent. If at any point your child does not comply with this schedule, they simply don’t get to perform their chosen activity (basketball, youtube, xbox etc). Do not threaten to punish them by taking things away, but rather give it back to them when they have completed all necessary tasks.
Good luck and have a great school year.