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Posted by: thepinetree on 05/09/2010 11:47 PM Updated by: thepinetree on 05/10/2010 11:47 AM
Expires: 01/01/2015 12:00 AM

This Week on "The Kid Connection"... Handling Homework Hassles ~by Stefanie Pechan

Having trouble getting your child to complete their homework? Has it gotten to the point where you dread even hearing the word? Here are some tips and suggestions that might help. First of all, please know that most teachers do understand that there’s life after school has ended for the day. There’s soccer practice, youth group, errands to run, etc. Homework is not just ‘more work to be done at home’, it is designed to: Reinforce the concepts that were taught throughout the day. Teach how to use resources, such as libraries, reference materials, and encyclopedias. Explore subjects more fully than time permits in the classroom....

Help children to work independently, encourage self-discipline and responsibility, time management, and encourage a love of learning.

It should not take more than an hour’s time. If you find that your child is spending more than that on one particular assignment, please talk with your child’s teacher. It may be that your child doesn’t understand the concept and/or has reached the frustration level. The national average for homework, according to the Department of Education, is around 30 minutes for primary grades and an hour for intermediate grades (per subject).

Set the mood: Realize that your child needs a quiet area without any distractions. In order to be able to focus on their task, set them at the kitchen table or somewhere comfortable. Ensure they have all necessary materials, such as pencils, appropriate books, etc. Turn off the TV! Instead, turn on some classical music. There are countless studies that have proved classical music stimulates the brain, allows one to focus easier, and actually sets the tone for learning. It is also a great way to calm down from the busy day your child has had at school.
Feed the mind: A good snack goes a long way. According to many studies, eating foods that contain Omega 3 fats can help the brain! A few healthy suggestions are trail mix, fruit, cheese and crackers, or yogurt (of course, if your child has an allergy, choose something else!). Set out a healthy variety for your child to munch while hitting the books.

Multiple Intelligences: According to Gardener’s theory of Multiple Intelligences, everyone learns differently and has special talents unique to them. Some people are visual and learn best by watching. Others are auditory and learn best by listening. Some learners are kinesthetic and learn best by doing (hands-on learning or project-based learning, as we like to call it). Some learners may produce their best work without using a paper and pencil. How, you ask? The computer! Incorporating technology is fun for children and will more likely produce results. Allow them to write their spelling sentences on the computer, type that book report, or short story. You just might be amazed at what they’ll do on a computer. Discover what type of learner your child is and that will give you a view into how they learn and study best. There are seven different types of Multiple Intelligences, You can read more about them online (just Google it).

Brain Breaks: We all need to give our brains a break after working hard. Every 45 minutes or so, have your child stand up and stretch. Allow them five or ten minutes to use the bathroom, get a drink, go for a short walk, etc. They will return to their work refreshed and ready to go!

Ready, set, work! Sit down with your child and do your ‘work’, too. Pay those bills, write thank you notes, make the grocery list for the week… while your child gets their work down, you can get some done, too. You’ll also be right there in case they have any questions. (Note: If you or your child does not understand something, write a note to the teacher. Remember, that the teacher is your partner in educating your child!)

Tip: Choosing the right time for your child is important. If they are squirrelly and need to run, let them go play for awhile after school to wind down. If your child tends to be really tired after dinner time, it probably isn’t the best time for homework. Choose the right time of day that works best for your child.

In a nutshell, provide your child a comfortable and distraction-free workplace. Make sure all basic needs are met and give them a break every once in a while. The less stress you place on them, the less you’ll have in return. Turn homework into a learning experience and allow your child to show you what they’ve learned! It is their chance to share with you a part of their day.

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