Side thought: I am still a little new at this mama thing, still having a lot of firsts, so sometimes I have these surreal moments like, "Wow, I am REALLY somebodies mama and helping this little person with their homework?!! CRAZY?
But I digress. I wanted to share what we were doing around here as it relates to after school routines and homework in case it was helpful to you...
In an effort to stay sane and not run around like a crazy person when we get home, we try very hard to do something like this:
10 mins Unpacking backpacks and waterbottles and such
We spend some time getting every thing out of the car. Otherwise it continues to look like I am planning on driving cross country and have packed all the necessary items. So out come the backpacks and sweaters and shoes and books and toys that seem to make their way into the car every day.
20 mins PBS Kids/Snack Time
I do like to make sure she has a little time to unwind from the day before we jump in to tackling homework if possible. It keeps the eye rolling (from both sides) to a minimum.
15-20 mins Homework/Dinner Prep
The teachers are very organized with homework and thankfully munchkin is pretty well self directed. I read over the instructions with her to make sure she understands and then step in the kitchen to start preparing dinner, popping over to answer any questions she might have.
15 mins Chores
For the six year old consists of putting away the silverware. Hopefully at some point in the day I have emptied the dishwasher.
15 mins Violin Practice
Little h likes to sit next to his "sissy" with his toy Ukelele and practice. This cracks me up and gets on her nerves simultaneously.
15 mins Spend some time playing with little h
In an attempt to foster a good relationship between those two who are 3.5 years apart, I try to
force gently encourage them to hang out doing something they both like - reading, puzzles, sword fighting?
45 mins Free Time
A couple times during the week we have after school activities in which case, "free time" is cut shorter. But this is the hang time before dinner.
That little person in the back is watching Sesame Street, or Leap Frog Counting Circus, or something with letters and numbers (homework prep) don't judge me:-)
For us it helps to have a:
Designated space: A clean and clear dining room table works for us. I like to have her close so that I can get to her quickly with questions or help, and not too far away because she doesn't prefer to be off all alone.
Designated Time: Knowing what to expect when we get home helps to keep down on the frustration of ripping her away from playing and makes homework less of a dreaded activity.
Designated Tools: The 'Homework Caddy" is off limits for any other activities/crafts. That way its always stocked and ready to go.
Distractions for the little brother: A younger sibling can prove to have its share of distractions when trying to get homework done, So I try very hard to keep him occupied - we color when she's doing her homework, play the ukelele when she's doing violin and I try and have him "help" me in the kitchen when she's doing homework.
Any sanity saving tips you'd like to share are SO WELCOME HERE.