By Beth Pinyerd
As a teacher, I have heard so many excuses for not doing homework.
The dog ate my homework, someone stole it or it just magically disappeared, but the best excuse that all we teachers have heard is “that they didn’t want we teachers to have to work harder grading papers.”
Homework was hard to do when I was growing up, but in today’s busy world, it can be a huge challenge! In sharing some helpful homework tips, I am reflecting upon my experiences from a teacher’s point of view as well as a parent’s point of view. Even though we live in a technology-driven world, there are a few simple suggestions that “stick” and are applicable in most homework situations whatever age.
Assess your child or children on what their learning strengths and weaknesses are in completing homework assignments. Their age and a child’s development have to be considered.
As you look at your children’s daily extracurricular activities such as ball practice, music, dance lessons, playtime, dinner, etc., you and your child decide on a reasonable schedule to complete homework.
For each child, establish a separate quiet work space or a room to do homework. Set rules so that people don’t need to disturb each other when doing homework, such as having loud music or a television on, etc. Also, make sure that the work space has necessary materials to do homework. Pencils, pens, paper, rulers, computer, calculators or resources needed to look up certain homework topics. Putting all materials in a box or in one place will save your children a lot of time in getting organized so they can quickly embark on their homework assignments.
Phone calls and texting friends should be minimized unless it is a study situation to help each other with a specific assignment.
Be sure to give your children breaks as they do homework. Bathroom or snack breaks as well as a few minutes to stretch and move can reduce a child’s frustration if the homework assignment is difficult.
With older children, they can take on the responsibility of their homework. With younger children that are just learning how to do homework, parents need to work closely with their children and the teachers. Written homework assignments may be sent home, which requires a parent’s signature. Also, schools may post homework on a computer site which can be checked in by parent and child.
If your child is having trouble completing homework assignments in a reasonable amount of time or seems frustrated, it is necessary to contact the teacher at the beginning of the year. Since each child is an individual, it is necessary for you to address this with the teacher directly. Conference times can be set up with the teacher through the school so that homework time can be a positive experience.
As parents, being a facilitator and encourager for a child doing homework is so much needed for a younger or older child. Taking time with your children to see what their assignments require make you a team! Playing learning games with your children in preparing for tests such as spelling tests, math facts, etc. make homework fun and can be done as you go to and from school.
Let your child know that homework is a “brain booster!” It is an important part of learning that will benefit them the rest of their lives.
Pinyerd has taught young children in the early childhood classroom for 34 years, as well as outreaching to the elderly in intergenerational settings. She has taught and outreached in the schools in Opelika and Baldwin County. She holds a master’s degree in early childhood education as well as a bachelor’s degree in family and child development both from Auburn University. Her husband is the late Carl Pinyerd, and she has one son, Gus Pinyerd, who has taught her so much about learning. Classroom Observer is here to serve the community in sharing the wonderful teaching programs in our local public schools, private schools and homeschools. The column is provided to enrich the education of our children, youth and families. Classroom Observer welcomes educational news, school news, pictures and events by e-mailing her at firstname.lastname@example.org.