Homework is not something thought of as fun. But with the right organizational tools, you can turn it into a productive and fun experience for your children. Setting the right atmosphere and providing support will set the stage for success.
First, decide upon a time for homework. This must be a consistent daily time in order to reinforce the routine of homework. When children arrive home from school, give them some "down time," for example 45 minutes, in order to unwind and get ready for the task. Arrange an area of the home where homework is always done. Place a carpet, pillow, or favorite poster along with their school supplies to make the environment stress-free.
Next, set some ground rules. Each child needs to understand that his homework time is individualized, not for his big brother or little sister, but his alone. It is parents' job to reinforce homework time by staying actively involved by supervising and asking the child to explain the assignment. Make sure the child is able to voice the purpose of the assignment, and that you act as a cheerleader for your child's efforts, instead of taking over the assignments. It is not the responsibility of the parent to know the subject matter, but know how to help the child if he is having difficulty. Contact the school for a tutor or aid to get additional help if you see your child struggling (many schools have free after school services to help). Take advantage of these services to ensure your child’s success.
Other helpful vehicles for homework success are planners. Calendars and planners allow your child to conceptualize time expectations and plan appropriately. Try an online app organizer with fun, colorful graphics and voice activation to utilize all the senses. Search the iTunes educational category for useful apps with the key words teacher tools, planner, and school calendar. Using an app as a planner is much less costly than paper organizers, and helps your little one learn healthy ways to use technology. You can use the app to bond with your children to understand what is expected of them, and also to understand the activities they are excited about.
Lastly, create a homework chart to monitor good behavior, which can be rewarded with playtime or scheduled activities. Homework is a must but you can add spice to make it more tasteful.
Remember, homework can be a time to bond with your child, and not a screaming match.
About the Author
Susan French is a kindergarten teacher, mentor and math coach, working for the NYC Department of Education for over 20 years. She is the co-creator of the 4KidCal brand of mobile calendar apps designed specifically for children. For more information on 4KidCal, please visit 4KidCal.com or write to firstname.lastname@example.org