When getting the student to do his homework becomes a daily battle, maybe it’s not the homework. Maybe the problem is that the youngster doesn’t feel comfortable enough to work independently. Children are a lot like adults in that some work well independently while others work best in groups. The single mom can take a lot of stress out of the homework session once she identifies how her child works best.
Most kids don’t even start to develop the skills to work independently until they reach the second grade age. It takes some children longer to develop the skill of being able to work on their own. Having mom or even a sibling that they can count on to keep them focused on their assignments in the same room is often enough to get the homework completed without a problem.
If your child needs the support of your presence while he is doing his homework, take advantage of the opportunity and relax if you can. Bring a book, newspaper or magazine to the table and catch up on your reading while the homework is being done.
Don’t let the child take advantage of your presence. You are there to support him, not do the homework for him. If he really is having a hard time with a problem, try to guide him into finding the answer on his own rather than giving him the answer. If he asks you to verify his answer after every problem, suggest that you will go over the work when it is complete.
Once the child gets into the habit of doing the homework assignments every day without argument, wean yourself from the area slowly, but don’t abandon him completely. Sometimes a child really needs help understanding the homework problem and will get frustrated if he spends a lot of time working on it without finding the solution. Let him know that it’s perfectly acceptable to skip over the problem and come back to it later, when you are available to help him.
As the child gets used to doing his homework on his own, try to give him the opportunity to focus on the job at hand without distraction. Turn off the TV and ask the siblings to leave him in peace. Some children work better with low music in the background, while others find it distracting.
Don’t expect miracles. Homework isn’t supposed to be a fun activity. There will still be complaints about having to do homework when the sun is shining and all the neighborhood kids are playing outside. Once the child realizes that he can work independently on his homework, one of his excuses for not doing it will be eliminated.
Some kids seem to need more help completing their homework than other kids do. For the busy single mom who is trying to complete her own tasks while the child sits and does his homework, the constant request for help may seem unreasonable.
A lack of understanding of the task is not the only reason your child may be interrupting you continuously asking for assistance with homework. Take some time and try to find a pattern in the timing of the requests and look for solutions to motivate him to do as much as he can on his own.
Have you ever been so overwhelmed and stressed by your own hectic schedule that you’ve just given the child the answers to his homework so you can attend other pressing matters? Don’t judge yourself when answering the question, just be honest. If it’s ever happened your child may be looking for another instance of an easy way out of doing the work himself. You can’t blame a kid for trying to get out of doing homework when other kids are outside playing.
Let your child know that the homework is his responsibility and that while you will offer support, it’s up to him to do the work. Be consistent. If another matter requires your immediate attention, have your child do the work he is able to do with assurance that you will be back to help him with what he really needs help with as soon as you resolve your own emergency.
Does your child seem to need more help when you’re on the phone or busy with a task that seems to require all of your attention? It could be that the child just feels left out.
Before the homework is started, have the child explain the assignments he will be working on. Let him devise a plan for completing the homework and show your approval of the plan. Then tell your child what you will be doing while he is doing his homework and let him know that you will be back to let him show you his accomplishments and help with anything he wasn’t able to achieve on his own. This will empower your child to feel that he doing his part in the daily routine by allowing you to tend to other tasks.
Is the homework session taking too long because the child can’t remain focused? Is he asking for help out of boredom?
Observe the area that is designated for doing homework. Are the other children watching TV or playing a game that is preventing your child from concentrating on the task at hand? A single mom likes to keep all of the kids in an area where she can keep her eye on them, but if it’s detrimental to the child doing his homework, a solution must be found. Perhaps a new homework location will be a good idea. Maybe the TV just has to be shut off.
Once the child has developed the ability to work alone, check back often enough to let him know that you are supporting his task. Help him with the problems he really needs help with and once the homework has been completed, let him know it was a job well done.
As a single mom you know you have a lot of hats to wear. Being the person in charge of making sure the school age kids do their homework is a responsibility you can’t take lightly.
Just as the homework assignments change from class to class, the way to motivate the kids to complete the homework differs according to the child. Some kids do their homework as soon as they get home from school while others put it off until just before bedtime, hoping either that the assignments will magically be done by the time they get to them, or, perhaps, just to give them a chance to stay up later.
There is no best homework schedule solution. All children are different, and all families are different. The single mom is often frustrated trying to find a good time to schedule the homework.
Successful moms find that they have to take their own schedule into consideration when trying to find the best consistent time for homework. It’s important that you’re available for support if needed so that your child doesn’t become overwhelmed. This doesn’t mean that you have to sit next to the child and hold his hand while he’s doing his homework; just that you’re available to make sure that the child isn’t distracted.
Moms with busy schedules can often become frustrated just by the thought that they have to carve out time from their day for homework that seems to have no great benefit. Many teachers assign homework as busy work, and it may seem like a senseless waste of time. Accept this for what it is, realizing that the school has a reason for this practice, even if it’s only to groom the student for the future. Don’t let the child pick up on your frustration or get the feeling that he’s wasting his time. Reinforce the idea of the importance of the homework.
Kids often need a bit of relaxation time once they get home from school, and mom usually needs a moment or two when she gets home from work. Keep experimenting with the schedule until you find a time that works the best for the whole family.
Once you’ve found a time frame that’s favorable to homework, be consistent. Make the time spent with your child a valuable and positive experience.