Setting Kids Up for Homework Success

If your children are not yet of school age, consider implementing a few routines at home NOW to make the transition to school and the reality of homework smoother for your entire family when the time comes. It is not uncommon for kindergartners to bring home schoolwork a few nights a week. With a routine already in place, you will avoid arguments and melt downs before they ever happen.

It’s never too early to start “learning time"

Consider your life and how you envision homework getting done without fights or tears. If you are at home with your children, figure out what time the local school bus drops kids off. Turn off the television and any electronic games and join the kids for a quick healthy snack and some “learning time.” If you work full-time, decide whether having the kids do homework before or after dinner is best. Once you’ve decided, go ahead and start “learning time” too.

“Learning time” does not have to be a big deal on your part. With very young children simply reading a few books together is enough. With older children you can read aloud, pick something you’d all like to learn about together or spend an hour on an art project. The goal is to have the kids get used to spending a focused hour each day on something besides free play.

Get organized

Before implementing “learning time,” get yourself organized - you need to be prepared for homework too. Have a closet or a storage bin that is dedicated to supplies. Stock up on:

  • Pencils, crayons, markers
  • Sharpeners for pencils and crayons
  • Construction paper
  • Wide-rule notebook paper
  • A roll of butcher’s paper or a tablet of newsprint for drawing
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Water colors and tempera paint + brushes
  • Tape, stapler, paper clips
  • Plan library trips to pick up “special interest” books and dvd’s

Also designate a spot in your home for “learning time.” It can be the kitchen table, the coffee table or anywhere the kids can write, draw, and read. Do your best to keep that area clutter free so you are not scrambling to clear space each day.

Set an example

“Learning time” will work best if you participate as well. Put your phone away, shut down the computer for a bit and focus on what your kids are doing for that one hour. Make it a fun time for all of you. Vary things a bit each day, but remember to keep it focused. Once “learning time” is part of your routine, keep it that way by following the school’s calendar. If the school kids are out, go ahead and take your kids to the park or schedule that dentist appointment. However, avoid skipping “learning time” for non-essential reasons. Remember, once school starts, you won’t have that luxury.

Once you’ve established this routine, when your oldest child starts school, homework should be a breeze! And, if you have younger kids, they, too, will be used to being quietly occupied during homework hour. Things will change as your children get older, but that basic routine will be such a part of their lives that finding time for homework should never be a problem.

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