3T3M How to Start Homework Off Right

Hey—I’m KJ Dell’Antonia, and this is 3 tips in 3 minutes—the how to start homework right episode.

Lots of teachers believe in starting the year as they mean to go on, which means the homework starts right away, too. No matter what you think of homework, it tends to be a big stress point for kids and parents. Our goal here is to get off to a good start with the mechanics—who what when where how.

My first tip: Let your kid take the lead. If he wants to do his homework in the back seat of the car on the way home from school instead of at home at the desk or table, let him. Ask things like “when are you planning to get your homework done” with, you know, bonus information—you’ve got soccer from 4-5 and Holly is coming over for dinner. Especially at the start of the year, let the kid make the calls, then help assess—hey, your teacher keeps writing that she can’t read your math homework, let’s figure out how you could make it neater. Hey, you left the homework until after soccer last week and weren’t happy—maybe a different approach this week? (I’ve even had my kid record a message to their future self saying “don’t wait until bedtime to do the math!).

Second: Be Near By, Not Next To. My younger kids do homework while I’m cooking. My older kids might sit in my office or bedroom while I read or work on something—but you should always be doing your own thing. I don’t’ sit down until a child asks, and then I get right back up. The teacher will tell you, the homework is meant to be stuff they can do on their own. If they can’t, it’s more important that the teacher know that than that they get the answer right. If you can explain and help, great. If not, the teacher will help tomorrow.

That might be tough if you’ve always sat with your child—it might take weeks to adjust—but it can happen, and it helps build independent study skills for later.

And before you say, but that won’t work with my child because—learning issues, behavior issues, whatever—

Finally, Skip the Tool Trap. I’ve fallen into this a zillion times—bought cute timers so no one spent too much time on homework! Made “homework boxes” with everything you need to do homework! Homework stations. Desk tools. Charts. Yeah. Looks great on Pinterest, but we never use any of it. I do make sure I have pencils in the car, but beyond that, we don’t do anything  special. You’re not going to be able to find the protractor by the time you need it no matter what you do.

And that’s all I’ve got! Thanks for watching, and I ‘ll be back with more from Studio KJ soon.


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