How We Survive Homework

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Angry Kid is in first grade. This is not his first year doing homework though. Luckily, we knew what we were in for, so we were not surprised when the homework starting coming home.

At Back-To-School Night, Angry Kid’s teacher explained what their homework would consist of. It was very similar to kindergarten, but with some additional work. His homework has a packet of worksheets; math, etc. plus journal writing.  He has to write three sentences in his journal based on a weekly topic, and draw a picture to go along with the journal. After discussing homework, his teacher made the best announcement ever. She was going to send the homework home on Friday so that we could have more time to work on it.

Although, we are not experts at this, I thought I would share some of our smart thinking tips for homework:

1. Parent Preview

As soon as Angry Kid’s homework comes home, I look through the packet. He gets everything at once.  I look through the worksheets and see what kinds of things that they are doing in the class that week.  I also check out the math. Their style and way of math totally confuses me, but it works.  And really, my most favorite part (Angry Kid’s least favorite) is the journal. Every week, his teacher places a sticker in their journal with a topic for their journal writing.  I’ve even used the journal topics for blog posts.

By reviewing the homework before we start on it, I know what to expect.

2. Set Out The Supplies

My son can easily distracted.  We learned very early to make sure we were prepped to do homework. We make sure that he gets all his supplies ready. He grabs a sharpened pencil, an eraser, and his crayons when it is time to do homework. Before we started doing this, my son would be running back and forth getting things.  It took forever for him to focus.

3. Get Rid of Distractions

Either Angry Husband or myself will help Angry Kid with homework. We’ve tried to do a “team-style” way of helping with homework. Ya, it really doesn’t work in our house. My husband and I have different ways of doing things. Every little noise completely distracts our son, so we have no TV on while homework is being done.  My husband sometimes thinks he is being sly and mutes the TV. Angry Kid still tries to watch the TV. I usually grab a magazine to read when homework is being done.

4. Work On The Easy Stuff First

Some people will tell you to start with the harder parts of the homework first. We prefer to not having the screaming at the beginning. Angry Kid loves math, and completes the math homework in only a few minutes. The journal is his least favorite part of doing homework. The journal is always the last thing that Angry Kid does. We prepare for the kicking, screaming, crossed arms, and tantrums when we begin journal writing. Once he starts writing, he is fine.

5.  Getting It Done At The Beginning Of The Week

As I said previously, Angry Kid usually gets his homework packet on Friday. We usually start working on it Sunday night. We end up having everything completely done by Tuesday night. Angry Kid has soccer practice twice a week, plus daily reading.  We try to not put off regular homework. We are ALL less stressed when homework is done too.  Plus if something comes up last minute, we know that homework is done.

Last year, we were constantly scrambling to get Angry Kid to finish his homework the night before it was due. Talk about stress!! Yes, we were stressed out with kindergarten homework.  Angry Kid was learning so much so he was exhausted. By having a routine to follow this year, we are all a bit more relaxed.

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Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)
Susan (5 Minutes for Mom)

Ummm... my daughter is in grade 1 here in BC, Canada and she has hardly any homework. Just a couple tiny books to read each night. Now I'm feeling like she should be doing more... I know it will become more soon enough... but still. Is your child in private or public school?

Jen {Tiny Oranges}
Jen {Tiny Oranges}

My oldest just started kindergarten this year and I was really not prepared for the homework! We get our pack on Monday and it is due on Friday. I WISH we had the weekend option to work on it because after school she really has no interest in doing more work. I am trying to find the "sweet spot" of time where there is the least resistance. Still working to find our groove with this. Thanks for the tips you offered, I think the organization / no distraction points are great.

Cheryl M
Cheryl M

You are so lucky to get the homework on Friday, we get worksheets on Weds & they are due Thursday. Then spelling homework Thursday night, spelling test Friday. Library Friday (so reading library books again Thursday night) Plus reading each night, or most nights in our house (she wants 2hrs of reading a wk) Trouble I'm having is my kid is still adjusting to earlier school, all day school, earlier bedtime AND he's not eating lunch so come Weds he is more than a handful. I think I might mention getting the homework sooner or having a few days to do it when we go to parent teacher conferences.