If you're tired of battling with your children over unfinished homework every night or looking for ways to help them handle the load, see how 14 mothers manage, and discover which strategies work best for you!
Play Before Work
My son is in the third grade and has at least an hour of homework each night. Here's what I do to prevent homework meltdowns: When he comes home, he is allowed to watch TV for a half an hour. Then it's time for homework. Giving him those 30 minutes to settle down is a big help! On days when he wants to play with friends right after school, he must return home at six, and can go back outside after his work is done. Nothing like friends waiting to play to help homework get done quickly with little whining!
Since my 11-year-old stepdaughter has anywhere between two and four hours of homework a night, sometimes she gets so frustrated with her assignments that she ends up in tears. When this happens, I tell her to take a break and either read or play a computer game for 15 minutes to take her mind off of it. Usually, the computer game is educational and allows her to practice basic skills.
Work Before Play
I think having a set homework ritual is the key to containing homework. I have always made it clear to my sons that homework comes first. They come home and do it first thing in their study area. No after-school snack, no nothing until homework is done! They are both involved in many extracurricular activities, but they may not participate unless their homework is completed. I have used this system since my oldest was in 1st grade and have never deferred from it, so they know the routine and are used to it. The only rule I've changed in the last four years is allowing them to listen to a CD while doing homework. I've found that my eight-year-old works harder and learns more while having a sound in the background. I've learned that my rules can grow and change to fit their needs as long as the basics stay the same.
Nintendo and computer are on Fridays only. And that is after all homework and projects are done. Homework is done right after school, and there's no television until it's finished. The kids do their homework in the kitchen. This way, I can cook dinner and help them at the same time.