School is in full swing which means homework is happening daily. Ugh! The struggle is real, friends. For any mom of babies and toddlers reading this, let me give you some advice- ENJOY this time in your life without homework. Nightly homework with a first grader is torture!
Clearly, homework is not my favorite part of the day, but there is one HUGE pro to daily homework. As their mom, homework helps me know exactly what they are doing in school, but more importantly, I know how they are doing. If one math sheet takes 30 minutes, I know they are struggling with that concept. Or if they fly through their math sheets, the work may be too easy. I use homework as a gauge to tell me how they are performing in the classroom. So, as much as I despise homework, I find it to be a necessary evil.
Since it is only September, I am still really excited about helping my kids with their reading logs, spelling words, and math papers. We are reading every night and writing the spelling words three times each and I’m doing it with a smile. I’m creating flash cards and showing some excitement toward their learning. Check in with me in April and I won’t be so cheery. As the school year goes on, I’ve learned that I have to have a plan in place or I will crap out. So, I’ve created a list of tips that help me stay sane throughout the school year.
TIPS FOR SANITY
Snack: This is a simple solution to a lot of meltdowns. Making sure that they’ve had a small snack and a glass of water can go a long way in achieving success for homework.
Consistency, Consistency, Consistency: Children strive on schedules and routines. I’ve learned that I have to make it clear that homework is done in a certain place at the same time every day. No exceptions. It becomes a habit which means I hear less whining every day.
Noise Level: Keep it quiet. This is extremely hard for the mom of a two year old. Finding ways to keep her quiet while helping my older two with homework has been difficult and I’ve had to get creative.
Space: Each child needs a homework space. Since my older son is more independent, he works at a desk in my room away from his little brother. Separating siblings is a MUST! My first grader sits at the dining table so I can be close by him.
Electronic Distractions: Get rid of them! I even hide them.
Plan Ahead: The after school schedule can be so busy with academic clubs, sports practice, music lessons, etc. that making sure that you have a time slotted for homework is a necessity!
REWARDS: Yep. I give rewards for homework. I am not proud of this but I do. The rewards I give are tailored to what I know motivates each child. For example, my oldest wants extra reading time. When he finishes his homework in a timely manner, I add ten minutes to his nightly reading time. My first grader needs more immediate rewards. For every math problem and spelling word, he gets one chocolate chip. This amounts to about twenty five chocolate chip every night which is well worth it.
Teach Independence: This is the MOST important tip. Right now I am still sitting right next to my little first grader for the whole 30-60 minutes that we do homework. My hope is that by December he is able to complete his homework without me being right there the whole time. Each day, I spend a few more minutes away from the table in hopes that he will gain confidence in his ability to do the work on his own.