Five Tips for Drama-free Homework

Homework's been around as long as schools -after all, kids need to practice the concepts they learn during the day. But, homework time can be...

Homework’s been around as long as schools -after all, kids need to practice the concepts they learn during the day. But, homework time can be stressful, and when it goes wrong, the result can be tears, anger, and hurt feelings for the child (and sometimes the parent). I asked my former Compton Unified principal, Cynthia Woods, for her top K-5 homework tips. Cynthia’s currently the Director of Elementary Instruction for Alvord Unified School District and the 2010 Riverside County California Administrator of the Year. Plus, she’s a mom to two school-age girls, so I knew she’d have great tips for keeping homework time drama-free.

1. Designate a study area. Choose an area in the house and designate it as the homework area. This area should have a table, chair, and good lighting. I highly suggest turning off all televisions and radios during homework time. This will require some sacrifice on the part of the adults in the house. You will find, however, the sacrifice is well worth it. Children will have better concentration and the homework will get done quicker.

2. Create a homework box. Fill a shoebox or small plastic container with items needed for homework. Keep the box near the designated homework area. The best time to get items for the homework box is during the back-to-school sales. You can get everything you need for under $10. Some items you may want to put in the box are: paper, pencils and pens, crayons and/or markers, glue sticks, scissors, ruler, pencil, sharpener, and a stapler. Items such as dictionaries, individual whiteboards, and index cards are also good materials to have on hand.

3. Clear out backpacks daily. Check your child’s backpack each day for homework assignments and notes from the teacher. Also, stay in communication with your child’s teacher. Most teachers will provide you with a phone number and/or email address that can be used to contact them.

4. Stick to a routine. Try to have your child do homework at the same time each day. Also, have your child eat a snack before getting started. It is best to do homework early in the afternoon or shortly after your child arrives home from school. This will prevent the crankiness that occurs later in the evening when your child is exhausted from the events of the day.

5. Have Fun. Make a game out of studying spelling words or learning multiplication tables. Search the internet for games that reinforce the concepts your child is learning. Be creative. Show your child that learning can be fun.

Photo (cc) by Flickr user los.angelista

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