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Homework Wars


Even if your child thinks homework is useless or stupid, it still has to be done. Fortunately, there are ways to help kids complete homework assignments and give parents peace of mind.

First, don’t try to change your child’s opinion about the value of homework. Instead, acknowledge that its very existence is a blight upon his or her potential for a happy life.

Instead of berating them for bad attitudes and sermonizing about responsibility, concede this: “You do seem to have a lot of homework. It seems that you don’t have any time for anything else.”

When your child believes that you understand his or her perspective, he or she won’t consider you a cop from school. That’s why we start not with speeches but with listening. After you have established trust, here are some things to talk about:

  1. “I know you believe that homework is stupid. But it exists. So, we must somehow do it.”
  2. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could discover a way to get the homework done and still have some personal life left over?”
  3. “What if I could show you a way to cut your homework time in half?”

You may have to spend a little time selling this, but persevere because there are almost no kids who wouldn’t like an easier way to do things. What you have to do is help your child organize and learn how to do homework.

Begin with organization

  1. Set up a study area in your home and stock it with all the tools needed for homework.
  2. Sit down with your child and a large calendar to analyze his or her commitments. Plot out all the activities, lessons, sports, jobs and so on that your child has. This may reveal that your child is doing too much.
  3. Once you know the schedule, you can begin to plan certain times for homework every night. Work with your child while you make this schedule. Don’t try to cut the number of homework hours down yet — that will come with practice. Simply plan for the number of hours currently being spent or the number of hours the teacher suggests.

How to do homework

The most common problems are not knowing what to do or how to start. Begin by making sure that your child is able to determine what is needed to complete the assignment. Most kids tend to glaze over instructions without really understanding them. Then, decide how long it will take.

Make sure he or she knows all the essential requirements:

  1. What am I supposed to do?
  2. Do I know how to do that?
  3. Do I have all the tools (books, material, etc.) necessary?
  4. How long will it take me?

In the beginning, you will have to help your child plan and track the time each section takes. Work toward the goal of completing each section within the allotted time.

It will seem like a hassle, but follow these simple rules and homework will be done faster and more accurately — I guarantee it.

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