SchoolFamily Voices

Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.

Hassle Free Homework

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Parents often ask, "How can I make homework less of a chore?"

As young children start Kindergarten or First Grade it’s the first time they have real homework. Very often the children are excited about homework because it makes them feel "grown-up."

Completing homework however, can sometimes cause a family struggle. Your child may not want to do the assigned work, or you may be unsure how to help.

Here are three simple tips to ease homework struggles for young children:

  • Create a specific homework "place." It could be a small desk in your child’s room or a table where family is together.
  • Make the homework place free of distractions. (No TV’s, loud music, video games, etc.) Make sure there is good light.
  • Work with a timer. Initially set the timer for five minutes then take a five minute break. Gradually increase homework time to ten minutes, with a five minute break. Make it a game. Young children love to "beat the clock." (Typical total time for Kindergarten homework should be approximately 10 minutes, for First Grade 15.)

If your child refuses to do their homework, don’t do it for them! Often this is an attempt for more attention from you, or possibly a power struggle. Just calmly say "OK, but you will have to tell your teacher, Mrs. Smith, that you didn’t do your homework," then move on. Let your child face the consequences of dealing with class policy regarding incomplete homework.

The bottom line: Homework is your child’s responsibility, not yours!



#1 Eileen 2010-09-02 22:12
Great homework advice. I would also add that you should be sensitive to your child's personality. Offering children a snack when they come home from school and before homework, provides needed nourishment and gives the child some down time before beginning their homework. Some children need a little more time to unwind before beginning their assignments. Whatever works best be consistent. Children adapt the best to routine.

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Do you allow your children to watch TV or play on the computer before doing their homework?