The Homework Struggle
By Haley Hall, B.A.
LEAP Instructor & Learning Specialist
I love the start of a new school year! There is something about the new pencils, folders, and the excitement of my students that makes it one of my favorite times. Along with a clean slate can come new expectations. One of those expectations might be to complete homework outside of class, which is often a trigger for stress—for both parents and students! These 4 tips will help make homework less frustrating, and that will help build confidence and independence in your child!
Create a study space.
Does your child typically do homework at the dinner table? In order for homework to be accessible and successful, children need an area where they have all the supplies and space that they need to get their work done. Set aside a small desk in a quiet area of the house where the child can focus on their work. Stock the space with sharpened pencils, erasers, paper, a calculator, some art supplies, and good lighting. Get your child in the habit of taking their backpack to their study space right when they get home from school. That way, they’re able to get right to work when they need to.
Use a planner.
Many schools provide a planner for each student to keep track of their assignments and important due dates. Get your child in the routine of filling out their planner at school, so that when they’re ready to sit down in their study space and get to work, they know exactly what needs completed. Once the assignment is done, check it off in the planner. It’s so encouraging to cross things off and to see the to-do list get smaller and smaller. In our LEAP classroom, I use this checklist to help students keep track of their assignments each day.
Make a schedule.
Many children thrive in a scheduled routine. Look at your day-to-day events and set a time every day for homework. Put up a monthly schedule somewhere in the house where both children and adults can see and follow it. Mark down important test and assignment due dates. Then, build in some study days before the test so your child isn’t trying to cram the night before the exam. While it’s important to schedule homework time, it’s equally important to schedule breaks between assignments. Give students a 3-4 minute brain break once they complete a task, before moving on to the next item in their planner.
Wondering if your child has too much on their plate? Here are a few signs that there’s too much work coming home each day. If your child is showing several of these symptoms, it may be time to talk to their teacher.
- Can’t do homework independently
- Takes hours to complete one assignment
- Isn’t able to get all of his work done during the designated homework time
- Gets emotional (cries, yells, argues, worries) about having to do homework
- Doesn’t have time for extracurricular activities or friends
- Makes negative comments about himself or the work he completed
Each night when your child is finished with their homework, check in with them. Ask how they feel they did on the assignments and whether or not it was difficult. Look over a few of their answers to make sure they’re on the right track and double check that everything was completed in their planner. Tell them how proud you are of their hard work. This will help boost their self-confidence and they’ll feel more empowered to try hard on their next assignment, too.
With these four steps you’ll set your family up for a year of homework success. When your child is confident in their ability to do homework, that will carry over to other areas of their life as well. Keeping a stress-free homework environment will help parents feel more confident about the work their children are completing. If you have any questions about your child’s learning, or if you’re concerned about their performance, you can contact us here.
Haley Hall is a Learning Specialist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
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North Liberty, IA 52317
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Urbandale, IA 50322