Hillary Chybinski: how-to. . .tame the homework beast

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

how-to. . .tame the homework beast

bear with me while i rant a bit. . .I hate homework!

i know there's a lot of talk about the family diner and eating healthy, a reasonable bedtime for kids . . .and all the other things that make up a "good" family and "happy" kids.  But how on EARTH are you supposed to do that AND get homework done too?

on a typical night, for 5th grade, we have 20 minutes of reading with a writing assignment attached.  Spelling.  At least 1 math worksheet.  Some nights we also have social studies and/or grammar.  And of course there are the nights with more than one sheet of math.
Second and third grade evenings were plagued with me yelling and threatening Ryan to do his homework.  To get it all done.  I felt enormous pressure.  I was working outside the home, and responsible for Owen and dinner too - all during homework time.

last year I had the opportunity to see Race to Nowhere. . .it changed my outlook.

we have very few meltdowns and I lose my patience on a much less regular basis.  I still have Owen and Dinner to cope with.

what's changed?  me and my approach to homework.  i refuse to see it as a "monster".  If we don't get it done - I will contact the teacher with my explanation and be ready to go higher if necessary.  Elementary homework shouldn't be "graded" - because you have no way of knowing whether the student did it themselves or not.  so it's typically "completed" or "incomplete".

here are my top ten to-do's to tame the homework beast:

1.  set up a regular place to do homework.  Ours is the dining room table.

2.  have supplies on hand.  Calculator, pencils, erasers, scratch paper. . .anything you may need to complete your typical homework assignments.  We have a homework cart.

3.  try to establish a time. . .before dinner or after. . .to do the "majority" of homework.

4.  know your child's cues for being tired, bored and frustrated - and given them a break or release before they need it.

5.  get the rest of the family in on things if you can.  State Capitals are a great way to test the whole family while your child learns.

6.  look to technology for help.  We have found some great apps for math facts, spelling and state capitals.

7.   know when enough is enough.  only you know what is right for your family.  don't be afraid to discuss it with your child's teacher or counselor at school.

8.  if you have smaller children that don't have homework, have a special basket or box of things for them to do QUIETLY while it's homework time.

9.  keep it positive.  it's not easy - don't pretend it is. (of course if it IS easy - don't tell me I'll be hopelessly jealous!)

10,  relax yourself.  enjoy a cup of tea or glass of wine.

what are some of your tips for taming the homework beast?

catch you soon -

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