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Tag: Challenges

How to Deal when Homework Nights are Hell!

Mother helping her daughter for her homework




Homework Nights are Hell, by Tre Harrington

This year I have one kiddo in high school and one in elementary school. The child in high school is easy. He comes home, has a snack and does his work. There are no fights, no hostage negotiations, and no tears. The kid in elementary school, she is another story.

We have three children: oldest who is fifteen, middle who is ten, and then there is youngest, our two year old. Middle is in fourth grade this year. I have no idea what they are prepping these kiddos for, but I assume upon completion of fourth grade, she should be a brain surgeon. Each night middle child has had at least an hour and a half of homework. With her constant yelling, fits, defiant rages, and screaming, it typically takes about four hours. By the end of it, the husband and I are ready to call it a night and break out the wine.

I feel bad for her, but I can’t let her know that. I realize these kiddos put in hard days at school. It is stressful for them. I truly believe that they work hard all day and all of the homework is daunting for them. Middle child is also autistic. We do not let her use that as an excuse though. She gets no special considerations, and she is expected to do the same amount of work as her peers. I imagine it would be much easier on her, and us, to use her disability to her advantage. We could easily say that this amount of homework is not within her capabilities, but we know she is. It would not be beneficial to her long term. We do not let middle child be set apart in any way, instead we fight to keep her as mainstream as possible. Even if it means fighting for hours and hours over homework.

We did find a few helpful hints for homework time. These are not full proof and I cannot guarantee they will even work. The best you can do is try. In our home, they work sometimes, depending on middle’s mood. Like parenting, homework time is all about making mistakes and learning from them.

  1. Let the child be in control. If they have four different subjects, let them choose what order they do things in. It allows them to feel like they are making the rules. This is pretty important to them, especially after being told what to do all day.
  2. Be sure the child gets a ten minute break when they walk in the door. No talk about school, no unpacking the backpack, just allow them to unwind. When you get off work, you need some time to decompress. Give them that as well.
  3. If you see the child getting frustrated, have them take a time out. No toys or television, just have them sit in a quiet place for a few minutes. Let them chill and be calm. They are getting frustrated, so work to stop the blow up before it occurs.
  4. We have found that getting through the hardest subjects first works best. If your child struggles in math, and they save it until last, it will be weighing on them all homework time. So, try to get it out of the way. If it is taking too long, break it into sections and work on something else in-between sections.
  5. Use positive reinforcement. You cannot ever tell your child how awesome, smart, or wonderful they are enough! Do it! Many, many times a day.

Every time you and your child are having an awful homework night, know there are many other parents going through the exact same thing as well. In the end, it is worth it. We are raising the future doctors, scientists, and teachers. So, take a deep breath and tell your kiddo they are awesome and keep going. You only have to do this until they graduate.





31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 22: Brain Teaser of the Day

Hink Pinks are rhyming words that match a silly definition. We’ve done the first one for you. See if you can figure out the rest…

1. paperback thief = book crook
2. lengthy tune
3. space to keep a sweeping tool
4. light red beverage
5. 50% giggle
6. rodent’s cap
7. tight carpet
8. angry father

Now see your kids can come up with their own!



7/11 – 31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 11: Summer Is for Tackling Physical Challenges

One of our very favorite books about summertime is Judy Blume’s funny and touching Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great. It seems amazing that a book published in 1972 could remain so relevant and appealing, but our kids can attest that it does.

Sheila the Great zeroes in on what makes summer vacation so important for kids: the opportunity to take on challenges besides schoolwork—chief among them physical challenges. After nine months’ worth of book learning and time inside a classroom, kids need not only exercise and fresh air, but also a chance to test their physical limits and courage.

In the book, Sheila’s parents are determined that this is the summer she will learn how to swim. With the help of her very patient swim teacher, Sheila gradually overcomes her fear, and by the end of the book, she is able to swim across the pool and pass the beginner swim test. Even though there are four-year-olds at the pool who swim far better than she can, Sheila feels so proud of herself: “I can swim. I proved it to everyone, including myself!”

This, in a nutshell, is what summer’s physical challenges can do for kids: give them a sense of empowerment and self-confidence unlike anything a classroom provides. Here are a few that our kids are tackling this summer:
– riding a bike
– hiking a mountain
– trying a zip line
– jumping off a high dive
– trying out a new sport
– riding a horse
– being brave enough to pick up a frog or toad or harmless garden snake.

The choice of activity itself doesn’t matter; what matters is that our kids have a chance to put themselves to the test, make some progress, and become more resilient and self-assured in the process.


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