In a previous post, I helped teachers and schools to discuss insightful research-based practices of homework that makes sense to assign in (if you did not read yet, you could read it here!). Today, I want to bring insightful ideas for parents dealing with the homework battle.First, it is essential that parents acknowledge to themselves and their children (explicitly) that, after spending 7-8 hours at school, it is unrealistic to expect children to be excited and diligent about homework. This is precisely where I believe that parents need to take a smart approach to homework and teach a fundamental lesson:

Sometimes (or most of the times?) we have to finish tasks that we don’t want to, that we don’t agree too.

Understand that we don’t do everything we want and we have to accomplish assignments that we don’t want is what responsible people do. Parenting smartly and authoritatively also means teaching our children to grow up as responsible people. Parents can use the homework as an opportunity to tell their own story when they sometimes have to work when they were tired, or when disagreed with the task. As I have pointed before, research has shown that from early grades to 7th grade, homework should be used to teach study skills (I am the first in the line to acknowledge that some schools are not following this rule!). However, you can use homework to talk with your child: 

About how it is essential to revise what he or she have learned at school briefly, so the knowledge will start to migrate from working to long term memory. 

About how homework should serve to learn study skills.

About how finishing this task will lead he or she develop responsibility.

Another recommendation is to organize a study-plan with your child, following these steps: 

a) Ask your child pay attention to what works best for him or her (play for one hour and then tackle homework, or the opposite). 

b) Set up a list of assignment priorities or divide long tasks in parts. 

c) Set up breaks: after 20 minutes of working in the assignment he or she can run or play for 5-10 minutes and then tackle the second priority or part.

d) Put the phone away (in other room), or establish unambiguous rules to use it. My son uses my phone’s dictionary, so we established that he can have access to it when he needs to search for a word. 

e) Another tip is to use a timer for each assignment, or for parts of a lengthy task.

Use this excellent homework contract to start these conversations with your child.

It can be somehow naive (and exhausting!) ask children be willing to work on their homework after a long day at school, however, let’s face this battle using it to share our lessons and to teach them some.

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