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How to Organize Time for Homework After School
Homework is a fact for most grade school children and their families. There are different approaches as to when and where homework should be done, but the most important factor is being consistent with your approach. Setting a schedule and expectations will help your child complete his homework effectively and timely. Homework does not have to be a headache!
Schools vary on the types and amount of homework that is sent home. As a parent, your voice counts if something is not working. Don't be afraid to speak up if your child is receiving too much homework or inappropriate homework such as busywork or material that is not on the right level. Homework should be a extension of what is taught at school.
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To start a homework schedule, you will need to select a time in the afternoon or evening for it to be completed. Ideally, homework should be done right after school, and after your child has had a snack. But, this is not always possible, depending on your family's schedule. In some households, it makes sense to do homework right after supper. These are some things to consider when selecting the best time for homework:
- If your child needs some downtime after school, encourage him to read or play outdoors. Some parents might stop at a park or playground on the way home to let the kids have some free time.
- Consider limiting electronics such as TV, computers and video games until all homework is completed.
- Don't allow friends over or phone calls until homework is out of the way.
- If your child commits to an after-school activity, discuss how homework will fit in on those days. Don't overschedule!
Lap Desks for Homework
Finding the right spot for homework is important, and you can pick a good spot with your child's input. These are some things to consider:
- Choose a quiet area with few distractions.
- Good lighting is important.
- Use a sturdy table and chair to avoid slouching.
- Consider a portable lap desk and comfy chair.
- Stock a bookcase or tote with all necessary school supplies such as paper and pencils.
- Multiple children may need separate spots.
Make sure your child keeps track of what homework he has each day. Invest in a mini composition notebook or small notepad for assignments to be written down. Some teachers print out homework assignments or email important dates for tests and assignments.
As your child gets older, there may be opportunities for him to work on his homework before he even gets home.
- Study hall during school - If your child does have a study hall period at school, make sure he is using that time wisely. It may be a good chance to get help from a teacher if there are questions.
- Homework club after school - Some schools offer a supervised space for homework after school either as part of the after-school program or as a separate group.
- Study groups with classmates - Your child may want to be a part of a study group with other classmates that meets either at school, the library, or in the students' homes. Just make sure they really are studying and not just socializing!
Too Much Homework
If you set up a good homework schedule, but still have problems with the amount or type of homework that is being sent home, talk to your child's teacher. A good rule to follow for how much homework a child should have is ten minutes for each grade, with a maximum of 1 1/2 hours for high school students. So, your 4th grader should not have more than 40 minutes of homework each night. These are some tips that have helped other families.
- Some schools send home one week's worth of homework all at once. The student then has the responsibility of planning when to complete the work. He can do a little each day, or all at once, freeing up the rest of his week.
- If you question the quality or amount of homework, then schedule a meeting with your child's teacher or principal. If the problem is widespread, talk to other parents and bring up the issue at the next PTA meeting.
- If your child has an IEP (individual educational plan) and is struggling with homework, see what type of accommodation may help. My daughter has reduced homework due to her anxiety disabilities.
Don't forget that you are your child's best advocate and your voice counts in his education. Schools appreciate feedback on what is going well and what is not, so work together for the best results.