Don’t hate homework

After 11 years of parent-teacher conferences, I can confidently tell you that most teachers will say they try to keep homework to a basic minimum to reinforce what’s done in class. At primary school level it should be neither very time-consuming nor stressful.

Tell that to the 10-year-old who suddenly remembers a flowchart at 3am.

Those kind of disasters can happen on occasion. But if you have a stressful session every day with crying and whines of ‘I can’t dooooo it!’, it’s time for a new approach.

Some thoughts from an experienced mom:
  • As soon as your child is home, relaxed and has had a snack, look at the homework book so there are no nasty bedtime surprises.
  • All homework should be done before any TV or electronic devices are powered up.
  • Allow your child to organize himself wherever is comfortable. He may prefer the dining room table where you are than a desk in a too quiet bedroom. Children are used to working in a noisy classroom. Some research suggests that studying in different environments helps kids retain information. 
  • It doesn’t hurt your child to do a bit extra to perfect a project or complete a few extra maths sheets. But in most cases a good night’s sleep is more valuable than getting overtired and emotional. If it’s 10pm and the end is not yet in sight, close the books and write a note to the teacher explaining that your child tried but couldn’t get it all done and offering to do it the next day.
  • Don’t get over-involved in trying to get homework perfect. It’s not Mom’s homework. Chances are you don’t know the new method of doing the work anyway. 
  • Keep a stash of spare pencils and pens, coloured paper and cardboard, and old magazines of various types for collages.

Most important of all, keep your cool. Don’t add your own stress or fears to the situation. Be a homework cheerleader, not a homework policeman.

More about homework on Parent24:

Homework made easy
Make reading fun
Does your child need reading help?

What homework challenges have you faced? Add your thoughts and advice below.
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