How Homework Solutons Began November 08, 2013 12:02

About twenty years ago I was told, “Homework is a bonding experience for parent and child.” My gut reaction was to feel this colleague’s forehead to see if she was running a fever — clearly she was experiencing delirium.   

I don’t know about you but, in my home, the sign of homework coming out of the backpack created a bit of anxiety. I won’t even talk about what happened when a project came home.

This all changed when I finally reached a point of no return. The negative emotions connected to homework lasted long past the homework being completed. he sweet times we once had at bedtime were replaced with one or both of my daughters going to sleep exhausted from the struggle they encountered with each night’s assignments.

Many nights, there were so many different assignments that it affected their bedtime. The struggles were directly related to assignments that were clearly above my children’s ability. Projects that could not be done without me doing practically all of it were creating stress in our home and interfering with my personal time. And this was just first grade.

Out of desperation, I did something that eliminated this stress for the remainder of my children’s educational experience. I announced one night, “I am done with this homework. I already did first grade. Do not come home tonight with homework that you do not understand how to do! Take time to look at it first as if you are going to do it tonight and ask your teacher for the help, so when you come home tomorrow you know how to do the assignment.”

I had come to a realization: If I were to stop doing homework with my girls, I would have to teach them how to ask for help. That’s the day “Homework Solutions for Weary Students” was born.

My instruction at home shifted from teaching math and language concepts, to providing my girls with strategies that would allow them to get any teacher they encountered to explain concepts in a way that helped them understand. It was a new challenge but one that had life changing benefits.

Surprisingly, it did not take long to get my daughters to overcome the fear of asking for help.

There were two benefits that resulted from this shift.

The first was that my children were able to come home and complete their homework independently.

The second benefit was one I never expected. As a result of my daughters asking for clarification, the teachers were alerted to the fact that some homework assignments were not at an independent level. This resulted in some of girls’ teachers taking a different approach to homework. They began asking the children if there were any questions about the homework before the children left class. Once this was initiated in the classroom, homework stress was eliminated from our home.

In many cases, teachers realized the projects were not appropriate for independent completion, and they replaced the projects with ones that were or eliminated the assignment completely. You can imagine my relief!!!

Your children too are capable of changing education from the inside out. I’ve seen it work. Children yield more power than one would believe. Students, as young as five years old, are capable of communicating their needs and getting those needs met without parents talking to the teacher.

With the mission in mind of empowering other children with the strategies that were successful for my children, and the hundreds I have taught over the past twenty years, I will be sharing the challenges we encountered in our journey and the way we solved them. My goal is to help parents eliminate the stress they experience while also empowering children with life skills that will take them from kindergarten to college. No more homework havoc in the home!