This essay is an as-told-to account of a conversation with Laura Linn Knight. This document has been altered for both length and clarity.
After five years of teaching in elementary schools, I assumed I would easily be able to manage my own children. However, after having two of my own, I realized that parenting is a totally different talent than teaching. I frequently found myself in power conflicts with toddlers and could not comprehend why they refused to listen to me. I recall frequently reacting with yelling, and after a while, I realized there must be a better way.
I began immersing myself in parenting materials in an effort to discover theoretical and practical methods for creating a peaceful family, which led me to become certified as a positive-discipline educator. As I applied the methods I had learned, I felt as though our home had once again become a place of tranquility, but then my children returned from school with homework.
I discovered that they lacked the stamina to learn alongside me. They were worn out from a day of learning. Both of them would become really frustrated with me.
They’d remark, “I already know how to do this.” “Please do not teach me how to do this. Can I get some water? I simply must sharpen my pencil.”
As a professional educator, I should have been able to get my students to complete their homework without a fight, but it wasn’t happening. There were temper tantrums, opposition, and tears.
That’s when I realized things needed to change.
We collaborated as a family to find an answer.
I convened a family conference around the kitchen table and informed the children that I had observed that everyone’s schoolwork had been extremely difficult.
I told them, “I want to come up with a plan with you so that we can get your schoolwork done and you feel supported to complete it.”
We devised a plan that we implemented for a few weeks. It failed to work. We returned to the family table and made another decision.
One day, after school, the children would have a snack, play with each other or their friends, complete their schoolwork, and then eat dinner. This strategy was successful; they decompressed and refueled before beginning their assignments.
Here are my recommendations.
There is no one after-school schedule that will work for every family, but here are some suggestions for figuring out yours.
Hold a family gathering. Parents frequently believe that by cooperating with their children, they are relinquishing control and power, however it is well recognized that cooperation makes individuals involved feel acknowledged and appreciated. When youngsters perceive that they are not just being told what to do, they are more likely to volunteer.
Ask them what they believe would assist them in completing their homework. Clearly, you will need to establish boundaries for this. For instance, your children may like to do homework in front of the television. You can almost certainly count on that not working. Co-create a plan, implement it, and evaluate it after a specified period of time.
Always ensure that they have consumed a snack. You want to ensure that children have sufficient energy to complete the assigned tasks.
As the parent, you should enter homework time in a state of calm. When parents are regulated and peaceful, it is more probable that their children will be as well. Before assisting your child with his or her schoolwork, take a few deep breaths by yourself to relax.
Provide your youngster with time to relax after school. This may involve playing soccer, constructing Legos, or engaging in imaginative play. Before they are expected to work, their brains and bodies require this period of rest.
Try to make it enjoyable. This is quite difficult for me, although my husband excels at it. Homework is designed to be a review of previously taught and learned material, so add some humor. Consider inventive ways to finish your assignments.
Homework affords parents an additional opportunity to spend time with their children. Life is hectic, but homework must still be completed. Try to remember that homework is not simply a chore, but also an opportunity to spend quality time with your child.»Parent and teacher. I advise parents not to assign homework right after school«