You’ll notice we didn’t title this post “Eliminating homework hassles.” That’s because we believe in being realistic. There will always be homework hassles, to some extent, because let’s face it: from a kid’s perspective, there’s usually something more fun, more interesting, more anything than homework!
But homework is a fact of life for today’s students and, since we can’t eliminate it entirely, we advocate for doing the next best thing: helping kids do homework more easily, more smoothly, more happily.
Location, location, location
What’s the biggest homework helper of all? Just like in real estate, the location for homework has a big influence on how quickly, how easily – and even how accurately – it gets done. And the way to ensure your homework location is ideal is to create a homework station.
Don’t worry – there’s no architect or contractor required! No matter how small your home, you can create a homework station. The first step is to find out where you child is most comfortable doing homework. It could be the kitchen table, the family room, the basement or their bedroom. Does your kitchen have a nook or desk area? Is there a corner of the family room that’s away from the hustle and bustle? The ideal location is anyplace that:
- Is free from noise or distraction
- Has comfortable upright seating (no lounging on the sofa!)
- Has good lighting
- Gives enough room to spread out
- Is stocked with supplies
The homework station doesn’t have to be dedicated to homework only – who has enough space for a homework-only area? Any space can do double duty – as long as it meets the criteria listed above.
Speaking of supplies, there’s no need to have your kitchen table cluttered all day with pencils, erasers, papers, stickies, glue sticks, etc. Instead, put your child’s most-used school supplies in a plastic tub, portable carrying case or even a rolling cart. This way, they’ll have everything they need to complete their homework (banish the “I can’t find a pencil” blues), and they can stow it away as soon as the work is done. Scissors won’t wander off, highlighters won’t magically disappear, and mom or dad won’t be tempted to “borrow” the tape.
Keeping track of homework to-do’s
Some kids are overwhelmed by the list of homework assignments – worrying about what to do first and what comes next can take over and prevent them from actually completing the work quickly. Other kids simply lose track of the pieces of paper and may miss assignments. For the first challenge, here’s a handy idea. Before starting homework, have your child write each to-do item on a stickie note, then stack the notes on top of each other. This way, only one task is visible at a time. As your child completes the task, they get the rewarding experience of removing the top stickie note and discarding it, revealing the next task on the list. It’s a great way to help kids focus on one item at a time. To keep track of worksheets and other papers, try a color-coded file folder system: one color for “homework in” and one color for “homework out.” As each sheet is completed, the child places it in the “out” folder. At the end of the session, all the completed homework is gathered together in the “out” folder, which can be tucked into the backpack for returning to school the next day.
This year, make calm, organized homework a priority in your home. Everybody in the family will benefit!