Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Homework Helps

These are pictures of the homework tote I won yesterday at a class. Look below how I'm going to use this to help make homework a breeze!

I went to a very helpful class last night that focused on ideas to make Homework a little easier for both parents and children. Here are the things I'm going to try to do:
Set a regular time-- For us this will be a different time everyday depending on the schedule. But it made a lot of sense to me when they said if everyone in the family is doing "homework" you will have less contention about doing it. Sometimes my younger children will be watching a cartoon while the older children are doing their homework and it is such a distraction for them. Early grades spend about 10-20 minutes plus 20 minutes reading time. 3rd-6th grade spend about 30-60 minutes and Higher grades spend 1-3 hours a night. So now we will all participate in some type of homework based on their age level. I'll get more into that later.
Have a regular place-- Not every home has space for a special homework place but you can convert the kitchen table, bar, The child's room at a desk or in the front room about the sofa table to a regular homework place very easily.
Have supplies handy--Keep school supplies in a tote or old shoe box so all the materials needed can be placed at the regular homework place. I really liked this idea. Half the time at our house the kids are running around looking for a sharp pencil, and then some crayons, and them some paper. I was lucky enough to win the homework tote the presenter gave out last night. Here is a list of items that could be in here:
Crayons, pencils, markers, pencil sharpener, erasers, glue or paste, tape, writing paper, construction paper, hole punch, stapler, scissors, dictionary, paper clips. I'm going to add some board books, flash cards (index cards), and coloring book or pages for my younger ones not in school.
Check Homework--After homework is complete it's important to look over it. Make sure it's their best work. Is the handwriting legible? Did they understand the concepts? Compliment them on a good job. Ask them questions about their work.
Reading Practice--This is a good time to hear them read after they complete their written homework.

So we are going to try this new idea of Family Homework Power Hour. Everyone will get to spend time during this homework hour doing reading, worksheets, flashcards, coloring at the kitchen table. I'll put the homework tote up and set the timer and off we go. I will also make myself available to help. Tonight is the first night we will try it. Cross your fingers and hope for the best. (Whenever I start something new, I usually have one child kicking and screaming because it's a change) I'm going to try to involve even my 18 month old. She loves to color and be read to. I know she won't last the full hour but it will good for what she can do. I think I will have some quiet toys she can play with after she has had her full of homework.
School is your child's job.
Make sure they understand that you expect them to do their best work and to finish their homework.
If the homework is consistently too difficult talk with the teacher.
Using rewards can be helpful but shouldn't be over used. Some non-material things can work as great rewards like: Getting five extra minutes playing video games, Picking the book you read at bedtime. Do what works for your child.
What you do at home to support your child's learning is very important.
Parent Involvement=Student Success
I'm so excited to start using the homework tote and the family power hour.
FYI: This Presentation was done by Claudia who represents The Family Information and Resource Center. Find them online at or read their blog at


  1. Those totes are a cute idea. I'm not sure where I would put them :) I feel like I'm over cluttered already. I think thats a good idea to have them all work during that hour. I have the problem with the younger ones watching a show and it distracting the older ones doing homework too. I'm amazed at how much they come home with even in Kindergarten. I don't remember having homework when I was that young.

  2. So it looks like your house is running like a well-oiled machine! I love the homework tote too - where was it from? Congrats on that win! Great post!


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