Last week when I asked a few friends what they thought Life in the Mom Lane should talk about the response was absolutely overwhelming. It seems that, this time of year, homework is the subject that tops everyone’s list of concerns.
With kids rushing out the door for a variety of extra curricular activities the daily panic attack over homework can be overwhelming for parents and students alike.
Depending on their grade level, a student can be at school for anywhere between approximately 5–7 hours a day. No, it isn’t an 8-9 hour workday but, frankly, it is still a long time to stay focused and working.
So, when you get home from work do you happily rush back to your home computer to spend just a little extra time responding to emails or putting together a presentation? Probably not. Chances are your son or daughter feels the very same way when they come home with a pile of books and work to do.
So, what are the best strategies for getting homework done with a minimal amount of pain and whining?
When my own son got to be homework age I started off with a simple house rule. Get the homework done as soon as you walk in the door. Only now, after more than a couple years of experience, I can openly admit that it’s a silly rule!
Yes, homework is important, but kids need to be well rounded and friends, family, sports and clubs are all important too. Sometimes homework, like everything else that a mom supervises, can take a little extra creativity and planning to get it right.
My friend Eileen D’Eon Fenick, who juggles three busy boys and their activities, has a few tricks to keep the family on track.
“I usually have the boys do their reading in the car on their way to soccer practice and have dinner waiting on the crockpot so I don’t have to waste time cooking when we get home,” she said.
Sometimes, of course, it gets dark too early to read in the car and she admitted that, often, they skip reading on soccer nights and “double” up when they have free time.
That idea caught on and another friend, Colleen Fox, decided that trips to Hebrew school in the car would be a perfect chance to study math facts.
They drive back and forth and she takes the time to quiz her son on addition and subtraction. Another case of “Mom Multitasking” at its very best.
These days I’m trying to teach my own son to schedule his time wisely and use night’s without football practice to get ahead in his work. With projects pending and deadlines to meet, we spend time on weekend mornings getting organized for the week ahead and planning our schedule.
Yes, we have done our share of homework and, as much as I’m embarrassed to admit it, dinner, in the car but the work gets done and the stress level is kept to a minimum.