By Amanda Henderson
Homework is generally not a favorite activity for either kids or their parents and caregivers. For some families, evening homework time can become a daily battle. It doesn't have to be this way, though, with some structures in place and some online help. Read on for some terrific tips from The Giggling Pig Art & Party Studio!
It's Not Your Homework
It's stressful for parents when kids are stressed over homework, but it's important to remember that you shouldn't be doing the work yourself. Kids need to learn to face their own anxieties and own the satisfaction that comes from completing work. Yet, while parents shouldn't get overly involved with homework, there will be times your kids need guidance. If you're balancing multiple age groups, this can get especially tricky; it always seems that everything happens at once, so make sure you’re ready for packed days, including having comfortable clothing that you also feel good in.
Today explains that parental help with homework doesn't improve test scores or grades, and it can actually harm academic achievement and increase helplessness. The teacher who assigned the homework believes your child is capable of completing the work. If your child isn't able to do the homework, that's also necessary information for the teacher.
However, it's still important to set appropriate expectations. As Liveaboutdotcom notes, high expectations move kids forward, so long as they are concise and recognize progress. Make sure you have both short- and long-term goals for your kids so there is plenty to celebrate together!
The Right Structure
As a parent, you can establish an environment that's conducive to working on homework. When kids are in school, the day is structured around learning, everyone is focused on the same types of tasks, and distractions are minimized. Seeing home as a "free time" space can make it hard for kids to turn their focus to homework in the evenings.
Create a structure for the evening, so everyone has homework time and a place to do it. On nights without homework, use this time for reading and learning. This learning time can be implemented even with young children so they get used to the structure, and parents can help everyone stay on track with time-management apps. If distractions and noises around the house are disrupting their homework, consider getting a pair of headphones that cancel exterior sounds. You can let them listen to music that helps them concentrate and focus.
Kids sometimes resist instruction from parents. And parents don't always know how to properly instruct their kids, let alone have the time to teach their kids. If your kids need a refresher on what was covered in school, here are a few free places to look.
Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) is a great, free online resource with self-paced instruction in a variety of subjects from preschool to high school. General subjects include math, science and engineering, arts and humanities, test prep, computing, economics and finance, college and careers, and English language arts. Instruction is through videos and practice exercises.
PBS LearningMedia offers video-based resources with supporting materials. While the site is developed for teachers and content is tied to standards, the videos are designed for kids from pre-K through high school. Subjects include science, social studies, math, English language arts, engineering and technology, health and physical education, preschool, professional development (for teachers), the arts, and world languages.
For older kids, check out Crash Course, an online channel from John Green, the young adult author, and his brother, Hank Green. Crash Course offers entertaining and educational content for high school and college students. Videos are organized into 15 courses ranging from chemistry to film studies to world history.
If your child continues to struggle, take a look at the bigger picture since there could be larger concerns. If your child is dealing with excessive anxiety around homework, consider a visit to your pediatrician or a psychologist. And if you suspect a learning disability, talk first with your child's teacher to see what assessments and services can be provided through the school.
It's time to end the homework struggles at your house. Expect a lot from your kids, but give them room to do their own work and celebrate progress. Provide guidance around managing time and locating resources to help them be successful. You’ll both be much happier as a result.
If you want to introduce your children to the wonderful world of art, spend some time with The Giggling Pig Art & Party Studio. For general information, call us at (203) 919-1153.