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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.

trelynn@nonperfectparenting
www.nonperfectparenting.com
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31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 30: Making Weather in Your Kitchen

In preschool, most kids start learning about science with the “daily weather report.” You remember it: one of the kids goes to the window and reports back to the class what the weather is, and then the teacher adds it to the daily calendar. It gives our children a tiny glimpse into the fascinating science of meteorology.

If your kids have the weather bug, here are two science experiments to encourage them…

Make a rainbow: It couldn’t be simpler to make a rainbow that is projected on your wall or ceiling. All you need is a clear glass container (a wide-mouth jar or juice glass is perfect), a mirror that is small enough to fit in the glass, a flashlight, and water. Fill the glass with water and place the mirror inside at an angle. Shine the flashlight on the mirror and you should see a rainbow. If you don’t, try changing the angle of the flashlight or the mirror (and, of course, turning off the lights will help too).

Make lightning: Push a thumbtack through the center of an aluminum pie pan turn the pan upside down (the sharp end of the tack should be pointing up through the bottom of the pan). Push the eraser end of a pencil (use a pencil with a new eraser) onto the thumbtack until it stands straight up. Place a styrofoam plate upside down on a table and have your kids rub the bottom of the plate very quickly with a piece of wool fabric (a wool sock works great). Use the pencil as a handle and put the aluminum pie plate on top of the styrofoam plate. Have your kid touch the aluminum pie pan with his finger. Was there a shock? If not, have him rub the styrofoam plate with the wool again. Once he’s feeling a little shock, turn off the lights before he touches the aluminum again.

#schoolasummer

31 Days of Smart Summer Fun, Day 5: Ten New Books for Your Summer Reading Lists

Experienced reading teachers and literacy experts can vouch for the fact that kids read more and enjoy reading more when they are able to choose their own books. On the flip side, too much choice (i.e. an entire bookstore or library) can be overwhelming and discouraging. So, as one teacher put it, putting together a “preview stack” of books at the right reading level and in your child’s areas of interest hits the sweet spot between freely chosen and guided reading.

So we have been working on this for our kids, pulling books both from the recommended reading lists given to us by our schools and from our favorites from when we were kids.

But there’s something absolutely delightful about discovering a new book from a new author (or a new books from an old favorite author) that makes a summer reading stack just a bit more intriguing.

Here are books that we have loved reading with our kids this year. We’re calling it our Best of 2014 (so far) List. Read on!

Picture Books
Hi Koo: A Year of Seasons by John J. Muth
The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems
Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light
Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton
A Gift for Mama by Linda Ravin Lodding

Middle Grade Books
Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald
Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue by Tom Angleberger
Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer Blakemore
Stay Where You Are and Then Leave by John Boyne

#schoolasummer

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