6 Simple strategies for homework success from parenting bloggers
Tips for establishing a system that works for your family.
It can be hard for all of us to sit down and get to the task at hand, and the same is true for kids and homework. And when it comes to schoolwork many other factors come into play: interest in the subject, kids' energy levels, learning curves, and distractions. Well, maybe that last one applies to us too (hi, Instagram)... Homework can be a frustrating experience for everyone involved, including parents, so we reached out to some of Canada's top parenting bloggers to see what strategies they employ that might help take the edge off the study experience.
Just as we thought, they had some great ideas. After speaking with Kathryn Gignac at Mommy Kat and Kids, Laura Crawford from Pretty Petunias, Diana Mancuso from Toronto Teacher Mom, Gillian Rowinski of Unlearning Supermom, and Chris Illuminati from A Message with a Bottle, we realized something quite quickly. Homework is never a one-size-fits-all experience, and adapting this advice to fit everything from your child's personality to your weekday schedule is key. Their advice was great and we hope it helps you create a study plan that works for your family.
Find a study area that's actually going to be productive
For both Illuminati and Gignac, that's the dining room, but for slightly different reasons. "There's nothing around to distract [his son] from work," says Illuminati. For Gignac, she notices that when her kids do their homework in their rooms, the work is often rushed and needs to be corrected. "Having us close by to answer questions and offer help ensures they're both trying their best and have the support they need," she says.
Avoid hovering over them, but be available
Crawford preps dinner while her kids work at the table. "I am there, but not there, so to speak. This seems to alleviate some frustrations for both of us. When questions arise I can ask for more explanation, if my hands are full. Somehow this does not allow tensions to grow so much and seems to grant me more patience."
Break larger projects into smaller tasks
Mancuso calls these smaller tasks 'clusters': "This makes homework less intimidating and overwhelming – and we can work in a break between chunks."
Be a motivator
Illuminati says if they didn't force their seven-year-old son to do his homework, he'd never do it. "It's our only option," says Illuminati. We hear bribes work… "I'm sure I've yelled out, if you get your homework done you can have ice cream for dinner, at least once," says Rowinski. "Maybe twice…."
Identify how your child learns best
"As a parent, I've been trying to consider the uniqueness of my kids while I help them with their homework," says Rowinski. Her oldest daughter loves school and picks things up quickly, so Rowinski gives her lots of space to get things done. With her other daughter, she's more hands-on. "Homework is her least favourite thing to do, and if I push too hard it just ends in tears (mine and hers)." Instead, Rowinski uses flashcards and games to make studying more fun.
Establish a routine
"Every day after school, I ask them if they have homework to do," says Gignac. "Routine weekly studying (spelling words, for example) get saved for the morning. Any additional work is done as soon as they get home." Homework over waffles could definitely be a routine we could get into too.