Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Homework Issues

I have had it all; as one of our three children entered Kindergarten every other year in span of 5 years. The oldest one was fully organized and shared it all – from what happened at school, what teacher said, what mama has to see and sign….to what that little girl with purple jacket did in the class. He would not eat or play until the homework was finished and that reminded me of my childhood. I thought I gave birth to my replicas. Well that dream of mine was broken soon when our middle child, daughter, entered her kindergarten. She was not only distracted with short attention span but also treated class room as park where she could catch butterflies if one came along. Boy! I still remember those evenings when it took me an hour to have her sit and have her complete her 10 minute homework. This bundle of my joy ruled over my all winter vacation when we learnt and tried all methods in the world to harness her energy and put that creative mind into doing academic work. She is fifth grader now! Thanks to all teachers & friend’s tips that we are in a routine where all home work gets done in the early evening; leaving enough time to do rope skipping, riding bike, playing tetherball and playing house with Carley(the 4 yr old girl next door). With the third one entering kindergarten; I guess I was experienced mother or stopped to panick over small stuff; may be learnt many relaxation techniques to avoid heart attacks. The youngest most was born ‘budhi’ (aged woman). She certainly understands a hell of a lot more than other girls her age. I truly believe Waheguru ji knew that I could not survive motherhood if this one joined her older sister in all the creative things distracting her from the goal. Sure I have to think of ways to encourage her to go out and play; when she quietly transition from home work to her art work or little notes that she often writes to warm my heart every day.

Here are some tips that worked for these little tornadoes in our home -

  • Have a set time and place (well lit, quiet and away from the television) for homework. (I used kitchen table (for one needing mom’s help while she is preparing dinner), study room (for the Mr. Independent ) and family room (most organized who is not distracted with mom’s occasional trips there with laundry loads).)
  • Have your child do his homework early enough in the evening so that he/she will have some down time before bed. (Playing after home work also gets them ready for dinner, they eat well and sleep well)
  • Be available to help your child with his homework if he has questions, but don't do your child's work. Appropriate homework is a lesson in responsibility.

The amount of homework assigned varies greatly from school to school and from teacher to teacher. As a rule of thumb, the National Education Association and the Parent Teacher Association recommend that children in elementary school spend approximately ten minutes of homework per grade. For instance, a first grader would be expected to do 10 minutes of homework while a fifth grader would spend 50 minutes. However, the time it takes to complete homework will depend on a child's ability to buckle down and concentrate; his ability to do the work, and his level of perfectionism.

While it's difficult for parents to see their child frustrated by inappropriate homework, doing too much of your child's work is likely to lead to an overly dependent child who may be convinced that he cannot accomplish anything on his own. If you feel as if your child is unduly overloaded with homework that is either too difficult or lengthy, don't try to solve the problem by doing his work.
If your child has problem completing the homework, or is a perfectionist who spends an undue amount of time doing it, work closely with your child's teacher. One of the purposes of homework is to begin to teach responsibility and for it to serve its purpose, a child must receive appropriate homework assignments.

In the upper elementary grades, other issues may determine the amount of homework a child brings home. Also, teachers begin to give their students longer assignments, expecting children to budget their time and work all week towards completing it. This leads to problems for a child who procrastinate and attempts to complete a week-long assignment in a single night.

If your child has a tendency to put off his homework until the last minute, you need to be aware of his assignments. That way, you can help him to consistently chip away at a large project.
Don't allow excessive homework to interfere with your child's sleep Remember, getting a good night's sleep is the most important assignment of all!


Blogger Harkiran Kaur said...

I probably sound more like your second daughter...but for me in school, I did really well in my hard classes and was very lousy with unchallenging classes (simple ones).
It's the same at work, as soon as I get handed one of those lousy quarterly reports that I need to work on and are simple, I start getting restless...haha! ;-P

2:45 PM  
Anonymous punjaban said...

man i used to do all my homework at the last minute :P even the homework we used to get during vacation ...

we'd do it in last few days :P ... but that was an enormous amount of hw.

9:24 AM  

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