With all of the changes surrounding life in the elementary years, elementary school homework can add more stress and anxiety to the lives of elementary students and parents.
This does not have to be the case. With a bit of organization and optimism, homework can be a task that is seamlessly woven into your daily routine.
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Here are some helpful hints to find sanity when dealing with homework:
1. Find the ideal time for your child to complete homework
Choose a time that works best for your child and your family. For some, this means doing elementary school homework immediately after school. This helps to ensure homework gets taken care of before life gets in the way. For busy families with hectic evenings, this plan might work best.
However, some kids need to decompress after a full day of school. You can set a timer for 30 minutes after your child arrives home. During this time your child can have a snack, listen to music, shoot hoops, or watch a short video. When the timer ends, it’s time to start working. This works well for children who truly need a brain break before they input any more information for the day.
Whatever time you choose, it is important to stick with the routine. Once your child knows exactly what is expected each day, the routine becomes easier.
2. Choose a peaceful place for homework
Most elementary students need quiet and focus to get work done. If you have other kids in the house running around or the television on in the background, your child can get distracted, and homework will take longer to complete.
The location doesn’t have to be fancy. The kitchen table works just fine if there are no distractions. If you need a quieter space, find a bedroom, and set up a little work area. Sticking with the same workspace every day will also help trigger the homework routine for your child.
3. Use a calendar to get organized
If your school supplies an agenda for your student, use it. If not, buy one. It also can help to have a monthly calendar at home too. You can mark big assignments and break them into smaller chunks with your child. Talk it through. Teach them to write in their agenda all of the steps along the way to complete a big project.
Also, spread out studying over several days. If there is a spelling test every Friday, start studying every Monday. A few minutes each day is more effective than cramming things in the night before. Planning takes time (and patience) but the payoff is huge. Taking things in smaller chunks makes things much less stressful for your child (and for you.)
4. Communicate with the teacher
If your student is spending an unusually long time on elementary school homework each night, email her teacher. Ask if there is something you can do to help her. The general rule is ten minutes of homework per night per grade level (10 minutes for first grade, 20 minutes for second grade, etc.)
If your child is regularly taking more time than is appropriate, maybe the teacher can help explain what is happening. Most teachers assume all is well at home unless you let them know. They want to know if your child is spending a lot of time getting through homework each night.
5. Find elementary school homework websites to help
There is no shortage of educational websites online. Many teachers have their own website or Google Classroom page to provide helpful links for study and review. Some students enjoy doing ten minutes of a practice website to review for a vocabulary test. Other websites can help practice spelling words. Some sites provide reading passages and questions. If you need extra practice for your child, it is usually a click away.
Also, Youtube has many videos to help explain things to your child. There are videos about everything from math tutorials to animations about history to science experiments brought to life. Of course, you will need to preview these videos to make sure they are appropriate for your child.
Homework can be stressful for both children and parents during the elementary years, but it doesn’t have to be. Establishing a routine from the early grades can really pay off as children get older. They will know what is expected in terms of when and where to complete homework, how to make a long-term plan, and where to turn to for homework help. Planting the seeds for homework success can help make your evenings calmer and more relaxed for everyone.