A lot of people are in the middle of the back-to-school frenzy, and that includes our household! My daughter Marley started seventh grade this year, and I’m still having a hard time dealing with how grown-up she is. Middle school is really tough, and last year was a bit of a shock to Marley’s system – crazy amounts of homework, tests, changing classes, lockers….
This year, we decided to put together a simple Homework Station and come up with some ways to help her create healthy homework and study habits. If you have older children, perhaps a few of these tips will help them as well!
This was a tough one for me because I like to think I know the best way to do most things, but that doesn’t mean I’m always right. (Did I seriously just say that out loud? Don’t tell my husband, ok?) My idea for a good homework routine went a little something like this:
– Marley comes home, has a snack, and a little down-time.
– We eat dinner as a family.
– She and I both go into my craft room/office after dinner to do our work. Me on my blog, Marley on her homework.
Sounds pretty good, right? I give her some time to chill, then I’m right there available to help as needed.
– Get home and grab a quick snack.
– Head upstairs to her room and spread out allll of her books and notebooks on her bed.
– Turn on some tunes to relax.
– Get homework done before dinner.
Ok, we’ll do that! What I had to realize is, Marley concentrates better when there are few distractions, and as much as I hate to say it, I would be a distraction if I were sitting next to her while she attempts to do her homework. By allowing her to have her space, not only is this giving her a bit of independence and responsibility, it’s also allowing her to get her homework done quicker. Plus, she knows if she needs me, I’m right downstairs to help.
Tip #2: Give them what they need.
Regardless of which room in the house your child physically sits to do their homework, they will need supplies. I made a simple homework station for Marley to keep in her room with a few essentials.
Mason jars are great, aren’t they? I filled three of them with markers, pens, pencils, a ruler and scissors. I also threw in a calculator and a scratch pad to help with math problems. She keeps it on her desk so it’s available when she needs anything in it.
*Sidenote: I’ve noticed if I keep pens and pencils close by at home, she’s less likely to use the ones in her backpack…which translates to –> she’s more likely to have them at school, instead of left on her desk at home because she used them to do her homework. #tweenproblems
Tip #3: Take away what they don’t need.
Just as important as stocking our kids with the proper supplies is keeping things from them that may cause distractions.
*ahem* cell phones *ahem*
Yep. In our house, cell phones have no business in her bedroom. She’s proven that she can’t be trusted enough to ignore it (hey, she’s only 12. She’ll eventually learn, right?) so we don’t allow it in her room at.all. Much less during homework and study time.
I also keep her laptop out of her room unless she specifically needs it for an assignment. If I left it in her room, sure enough she’d be watching 5SOS videos on YouTube, drooling over Luke Hemmings instead of mapping Southwest Asia.
Take into account what specifically distracts your child, and limit those distractions as much as possible. For example, our three dogs are sweet and love to help, but if they hang out in Marley’s room while she studies, I have a feeling their cuteness would keep her attention much more than her math homework.
I forgot what we were talking about…..oh yea! Distractions! Keep those to a minimum during homework time.
Tip #4: Don’t be afraid to change things up.
When Marley wanted to do her homework in her room this year, I finally agreed, but told her that we would keep that conversation open in case we realize a couple weeks into the school year that her way isn’t working.
You know that saying, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Well, if she brings home good grades, remembers to turn in all of her homework on time, and everything stays positive on the school front, she’s good to go. But if any of that changes, we’ll sit down and re-evaluate what works and what doesn’t.
It’s ok to change things up if something isn’t working. If you find out that your child is taking waaaay too long to get an average amount of homework done when they do it alone, insist that you try sitting in the dining room with them for a couple weeks to help improve the situation.
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