1) Get a routine and do your best to stick to it. Choose a specific time and place for homework. Maintaining consistency throughout the school year will encourage healthy work habits.
2) Get another adult to help occupy the younger children who don’t have any homework. If that’s not possible, set the younger kids up with some toys or an educational TV show to keep them occupied.
3) Divide and conquer! Have your children sit in different parts of the house to do their homework so they don’t distract each other.
4) Have a “homework supplies box” in an easy to reach (for the older kids) place. Stock up on pencils, sharpeners, crayons, erasers, glue, scissors, paper, and anything else you find on sale! Be strict about making sure the box gets back to its home every night so you don’t have to search for a pencil for half an hour before starting work the next day.
5) Do your best to keep homework time free of other responsibilities. Evenings can be a scramble, especially if you have after school activities planned. But if you are trying to cook dinner, entertain a toddler, and get organized for soccer all while helping multiple children with homework, you’re most likely going to end up using the last ounce of your patience and probably a lot of screaming and crying will happen (not all of it from the children!).
6) Consider setting a timer. This could be helpful if your child seems unable to stay focused. Give your child 30 minutes of help and then try to have them complete another 30 minutes on their own. Strategies like this can help teach independence and time management.
7) The crock pot is your friend! Don’t be afraid to use one if you know a big night of homework is in your future…you can throw in a bunch of veggies in the morning and eight hours later, out comes a healthy dinner! You don’t have to spend time thinking or prepping for dinner during homework time.
Stay strong and know that you are not alone and that this stage won’t last forever. At some point, their homework will be too hard for you to understand and you’ll miss the days of being a homework helper!
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