Counselor’s Corner: Homework Without Tears

By Julie Marks, Director of Counseling – Goshen Campus

Although homework in Lower School and Middle School is reasonable and is intended to reinforce concepts and work habits, getting through homework after a long day can be a challenge for some students (and parents, too). Below are some steps that can help set the stage for less stressful evenings for both you and your children:

Set Up the Home Routine:
Most children do much better if they complete their homework earlier in the day.
Studies show that beginning homework within an hour after arrival from school/after-school activities helps kids succeed.

Designate a Homework Location:
Create a dedicated and consistent homework location in a quiet spot with good lighting.  Choose a location free from distractions and rule out television or screen time during homework. Pick a location near you if your child needs adult supervision.

Be Your Child’s Coach
For some children, it is helpful to review the assignments that come home before your child begins their homework. Read the directions together and highlight key words if your child needs some help getting started.

Take Breaks, Refocus
After your child has been working 10-15 minutes (longer for older children), or has completed one assignment, a movement break or a snack may be helpful.  For children who struggle with maintaining attention and focus, the increment of time may need to be smaller.

Praise Effort
Try to make homework a period associated with a certain level of praise. Let your child know how impressed you are with how hard s/he has worked. Be as specific as you can with comments such as, “I admire how you took your time writing your spelling words, and you used your best handwriting.”

Organize
This comes easily to some children and is a major hurdle for others. Help your child learn to keep track of assignments. Take a few minutes to put away loose papers into their proper folder and teach your child to put away homework in its proper place. A favorite expression I use at home is, “Your homework isn’t finished until it is put in your folder.”

Remember that teachers are here to help, so please reach out if you have a question or concern about homework.