The Homework Routine That Works
At the beginning of the school year you set the rule: Homework gets finished as soon as you get home from school. But by October, that rule doesn't seem to be as hard and fast as it was in August.
If you don't rein in the lax homework routine, before you know it you'll be hearing those panicked cries at 7:30 a.m. that homework isn't finished. Or worse yet, you'll get the dreaded phone call from the teacher notifying you that your little angel hasn't been turning in her homework. Heaven forbid you don't find out about the missed assignments until you attend parent/teacher conferences!
No worries. The problem doesn’t usually lie with formatting a good routine; rather it's with enforcing the routine. If you're fortunate enough to be home with your child after school, it is a little easier to ensure the homework routine is maintained. If you don't see your child for an hour or so after he's been home, you can still follow through.
The rules should be simple enough to leave no room for misunderstandings.
- Grab an after school snack then start homework.
- TV stays off until all homework is finished and reviewed for completeness.
- No extracurricular activity until all homework has been completed.
Number three tends to be a difficult one for parents to enforce. We tend to over book our children's schedule. Number three, no extracurricular activity until all homework has been completed, means just that. It doesn't mean the rule can be relaxed if junior has tae kwon do after school or if Suzy has gymnastics. It doesn't mean its ok to take a pass on number three on days when Johnnie has T-ball practice.
Perhaps you decided that you paid good money for lessons and Suzy, Junior and Johnnie will participate. Okay, but what kind of example is that setting? How about if you take your child to the activity, but she must sit out until the homework has been finished. Then she's welcome to join the other kids on the balance beam.
Remember you still have dinner and a bedtime routine too. Children should worry about being children, not about juggling schedules. Make sure your child has a snack so that his stomach's growling won't be a distraction. After homework is finished he can enjoy what little time is left in the evening. If you stick to rules one, two and three above, you're on track for a great school year!
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