Homework without Hassles

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If you have kids in school, the holiday season can be a nice break from homework struggles. But once they get back in their school routines, how can they keep themselves on track? Family Coach and Speaker Kim DeMarchi stopped by with simple tips to take the hassles out of homework.

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Homework without Hassles

by Kim DeMarchi, Jan. 2019

Now that the new year is upon us and the kids are going back to school after a long winter break, it's back to Homework Time for the kids. But homework can be as much work for parents as it is for children! Here to give parents some tips we welcome back Parent Educator and Family Coach Kim DeMarchi.

What can the hassles look like after school?

Stress, arguments, refusing to do it, whining, sibling conflict, making lots of mistakes, dawdling, "I need help...."

How can parents change their mindset about what a chore homework is?

You are right in that most parents see homework as a chore, and it is on the surface. But, if parents start to see homework as a huge opportunity to reinforce valuable and necessary life skills, it will really help change the way they respond to the task of homework in their home. Also, parents need to make sure their children know that:

1. Education is a priority and

2. Homework is non-negotiable.

What are some of those life skills?

Most people think of organization, problem solving, responsibility, time management, work ethic, but it goes way beyond just that. They are called Executive Functions.

What are executive functions?

Executive functions are basically the cognitive skills that help us manage our lives and be successful. Parents should be trying to develop these functions in their young children and the perfect vehicle they can use is HOMEWORK! These skills need to be taught, just like learning to read. And once the skills are taught and are habits, they can be transferred to all of life!

What are the 8 Executive Functions?

  1. Emotional Control- handling frustrations appropriately
  2. Inhibition- impulse control, interrupting, taking turns
  3. Initiation- starting homework and projects
  4. Organization of materials- spaces and materials accessible and able to be used efficiently
  5. Planning/Organization- completing and turning in assignments, juggling schedule
  6. Self Monitoring- staying on topic, not making careless mistakes
  7. Shift- transitioning from one thing to another, adapting to new situations
  8. Working Memory- following directions, note taking, retaining information


What are some ways you can internally motivate your child to do homework?

1. Find out what the child's goals are.

2. Ask questions to help the child determine how those goals can be met. Get them involved!

Examples:

  • How much time to do think you'll need to study each day?
  • Where do you want to study?
  • What conditions do you need to be most effective?
  • What materials do you want in your space?
  • What planning assistance do you need? (calendar),
  • Where will you keep completed homework?

3. Have the child determine the consequences for forgetting to do/turn in homework, not sticking to the study schedule, if a goal is not met.

4. Have the child write an agreement with all of the above.

5. Encourage!

How do you know which strategies will work for each child?

All children are different , so not every strategy will work all the time with every child.

Some kids do better with light music in the back ground, while others need complete silence.

Some need to take frequent breaks with jumping jacks to get their energy out and others might be distracted by frequent stops and will require uninterrupted work times.

Some can sit anywhere, others may need to bounce on a yoga ball or stand.

Some kids aren't intimated with a math sheet with 40 problems on it. Some will feel less anxious by folding it in half.

Some children do better when chewing gum or on ice chips. Some work faster with snacks on hand, while others should snack before they begin.