Have you ever had the “homework blues”? By that, I mean the blues we get as parents when our children are not going with the flow of homework. Of all the topics parents bring to me, this is one of the most popular. Here are a few tips you might find helpful:
- – H.A.L.T. Check to see if your child (or you) is Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Take care of that need first. Homework will be much easier when these needs are handled.
- – How much time has your child had to stretch his/her body throughout the day? Have they been able to run and burn off steam? Have they had free time? When they go straight from six hours in classes to sitting at the dining room table for homework, their body actually gets uncomfortable. Children need to move. Check to see whether or not the time you have chosen for homework is a good time for your child. Maybe they need a break for physical activity and some free time.
- – Is your child lost in the assignment? Does your child understand what they are supposed to be doing? Many times children will sit and stare at the wall because they don’t know what to do next or they don’t quite know “how” to do it. When you sit your child down to do homework, take a few minutes to make sure they are clear about what they need to do. And, make sure they have everything they need to do it, including the mental capacity. Do they need help, or can they do it on their own? Clarifying these pieces will alleviate frustration, and ensure that the project moves forward.
- – Is the work load too much? Is your child sinking? Are they depressed? Are they seeming overwhelmed? Are they fighting homework at every turn? If so, check in with your child and with the teacher. Make sure you’re on track with what you are expecting your child to do for homework. A lot of times teachers will say to stop homework after a certain amount of time, whether it’s done or not (as long as your child is working during that time). Learning should be fun. If it’s creating too much anxiety, step back and reassess.
- – Look to see if something else is going on. It may have nothing to do with school or homework, or the workload. Has something changed in your home? Has a friend moved? Is your child going through a hormonal change, or developmental shift? Sometimes growth spurts make it hard to sit still, and our children require more sleep. Take the time to explore.
What I really want you to get from this article is that there are things we can do as parents to minimize the homework blues. There are questions that can be asked, and adjustments that can be made. I do not believe in six hours of school, two to three hours of homework every day, and then working on the weekend to finish up. That just cranks out workaholics, in my opinion. Find what is reasonable for your child, and what is going to accomplish the goal with the least amount of frustration and overwhelm for both of you. And remember, everyone needs down time. Sometimes you just need to ask the teacher for some extra time. We’re all human. The point is learning. What are we learning, if we are not learning to be creative, flexible, understanding, and kind in the process? That is what we need to instill in our children. Deadlines will be met. Academics will be learned. It’s the heart and the spirit that we want to protect and honor.