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Monday, January 10, 2011

School Bell: Building a Homework Habit

If your child does his or her homework cheerfully and willingly, skip today's blog... it's not for you.  But mine needed "encouragement" to develop a good homework habit. Years ago I got tired of always hearing, "I don't have any," when asking about homework due. I knew that although they sometimes might have none, the expectation of our school was an average of 10 minutes per night per grade level. [30 minutes in 3rd grade, 60 minutes in 6th etc.] Their grades and parent conferences confirmed they were avoiding homework. So I tried an unorthodox approach.

I went to the local bookstore and found the section with all the academic workbooks currently popular.  For each of my kiddos I bought a grade level workbook for their grade. This gave me the option of several different subject areas etc.  Each workbook was full of single page worksheets [with the answers handily in the back!].

 I announced my new plan. Each night I would tear out and hand out worksheets  [2-3] to each child.  They could earn the privilege to  watch television [or other "screens"] by finishing the worksheets and handing them in to me.  If they had homework from school to do, they could do that instead to earn their time. In a short time, they were suddenly remembering homework and our nightly homework time turned into a mix of worksheets and schoolwork instead of challenges and denials.

Why did this work?  I think they figured out that if they were going to have to do school type work anyway, they might as well do what the teacher assigned and avoid detentions or lower grades.  A side benefit was that since they had either school homework or my homework every school night, they developed a routine of doing school work nightly... a routine they desperately needed. What has worked for you?  

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