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Wednesday, October 10, 2007

HELP: How Do You Handle Homework in Your Household?

This is for all you folk who have two or more schoolage children who have daily homework after school. How do you handle it in your household? After school? After dinner?

What about kids who are involved with sports or other outside activities? Do you find it's difficult for them to get their homework done? How you work this out?

How about if you have younger children who need attention...how do you help your older ones with their homework when a little one wants you to play a game of hide and seek?

Okay, any advice from all you organized and experienced parents would be greatly appreciated. Comment away. Please.


PJ Hoover said...

Ok, only 1 school age kid here, but here's what we do.
First thing in the door, he sits at the table and does his homework. For the littler one, we pretend she is doing homework also. I give her supplies out of the school supply bin and she goes to work also. Maybe cutting pictures out of a magazine or using a glue stick.
It does prove challenging when after school activites happen. Play dates, etc. But when they do, homework gets done as soon as possible. (if it's dinner time, then right after dinner. If there's time before hand, then right then.)

Christine M said...

By the time my kids walk home from school it's almost 4, and so the rule is they can play outside until 5:30. But at 5:30 they must start homework (we usually eat around 6:30). Exceptions/amendments to this: if there is a hockey game or girl scouts - homework has to be done as soon as they get home. And if they'd prefer to play on the computer to going outside - the homework has to be done first.

They're both in school now - and both get homework, so I don't have as much of an issue as to what to do with the littler one - I used to though - and it was usually just chaos.

Don't get me wrong - it's still chaos - but that's the general rule we try to live by.

HipWriterMama said...

That's a good idea with some "homework" for little one.


Chaos is what I'm talking about here.

Third grader has a little more than two hours of homework everyday. We start homework as soon as she gets home from school since she's too tired to do anything after dinner. The problem is she has very little downtime after dinner and is too wiped to concentrate on her reading.

First grader has fifteen minutes of reading, and then wants to play outside. Little one is crazy since she hasn't seen her sisters and bugs both of them. And I become a crazy lady watching the kids outside, mediating, and helping third grader.

Third grader gets frustrated since she gets overwhelmed with the homework. She's generally is a perfectionist with her work, so the two hours stretches out...

I have an enormous respect for the homeschooling parents out there. Because it's hard enough parenting without having to add the whole other aspect of instilling order to teach.

Libby said...

Two hours for a third grader sounds crazy! I have a fifth grader who has four teachers/four major subjects, and they have promised to keep it under 15 minutes each per day (not counting reading). So that's an hour for a kid two years older, and a little better at sitting in a chair, I imagine. We still have a few battles but we generally allow for some playtime or an after-school activity that takes us up until 5, and homework should be done by dinner time (between 6 and 6:30). His older sister, a senior in high school, does most of her homework on her hour-long bus ride.

Oh, but I will say: third grade homework was awful for both of them! Something about that year--they fussed and resisted and then cried over it while they were doing it. Both perfectionists, too--so I do sympathize.

m. thompson said...

Oh, I so don't envy you. It's painful, isn't it? I'll agree with Libby. Third grade homework is horrible. My kids didn't have the independence to do it on their own yet, and needed alot of help earlier on. It does get better though.

HipWriterMama said...

An hour long bus ride! I'm impressed your teen could do homework on the bus. I'd have a major headache going on from the bus ride.


M. Thompson,
Third grade homework is a bear. We have these statewide tests the kids start taking in third grade, so I'm sure it's to make sure these kids know their stuff. But still...

Elaine Magliaro said...


I agree with Libby that two hours of homework for a child in third grade is crazy! That's coming from a person who taught elementary school (second and/or third grade) for more than thirty years.

Kids should have ample time to relax, read, daydream, play, draw, exercise, explore nature. They need to use their creative juices. Those things help develop their thinking skills, too!

MotherReader said...

I am not the least bit organized but I'm experienced, so I'll put in my bit.

First of all 2 hours for a third grader is a lot! You might check in with the teacher to talk to her about the workload.

When the homework needs were different, I gave the younger "homework" to do as well. Sometimes it was those activity books - like color the right things red, etc. Or drawing, quiet things.

We used to have some free time after school, then do homework from about 5:30-6:30 and then dinner. Lately, it's been harder because they sometimes have more than an hour or they have activities. Now, we generally do homework after a snack.

It's always chaos as they get to school-age to fit in homework, activities, play-dates, and the nice days that beg for outside time.

Jen Barney said...

Both of my are in something one night a week. This makes for a long day! We always keep a clip board in the van and if needed my son and I can do homework in the car before an activity. It is a nice time to connect with him. If his sister is in the car too- she has a snack or fun car acivity while we are doing this. Nights with no activities...they both come home and have decompression time. They PLAY! afterwards... my son does his homework & my three year old gets work too... a color sheet or something that is very important. at night they draw straws to see who is coming to the room first to have a story with JUST MOMMY OR DADDY!

HipWriterMama said...

I so agree with you--kids need to play and relax. Which third grader gets so little time to do after school. Thanks for the teacher point of view on this.


I'm getting courage now after reading everyone's responses. A few of us are going to approach the third grade teachers. One of the mom's has twins--the homework level is the same in the other two classes. Thanks for the suggestion.


A clipboard in the car is a good idea. I think I'll have to copy that one. Thanks.

Susan said...

Vivian, let us know what happens with the homework. Two hours for third grade is too much.

Jr., also a third grader, is only quasi-independent about it. I have to give many, many reminders about the written stuff, particularly if it's math. Often he needs me to walk him through a math assignment.

I would so much rather that he was outside playing in this nice weather, but I try to give him a snack and 30 minutes of free time before he has to buckle down. He can read after dinner, but written stuff just wouldn't get done then.

:: Suzanne :: said...

Just one kid in school here, I home-school the other one. Nevertheless, here is what we do. Come home, change clothes, do an outside chore, eat a small snack, do homework. If he can get it all done before dinner, he can play after dinner. If he dawdles, then there goes play time.

If he has had super-great behavior at home and at school for several days running, the outside chore time becomes outside free-time. Either way, he gets some outside time.

If he is doing really hard work, we save it for after dinner and I sit next to him and read blogs while he works. This keeps me available to help, but lets me do my stuff too.

If he applies himself but truly doesn't 'get it' I send it back, undone, with a note to the teacher. I figure it is her job to teach it and my job to help him practice it. If he leaves class without a basic understanding, she needs to know that.