Sep 8, 2014


I'm a bit of an overzealous mom, I'm not ashamed to say (well maybe a little ashamed) so I've been giving munchkin "homework" for a little while now. In my mind - to balance out the "screen time" guilt and make sure she was "in the know" and on track from a learning perspective. (I LOVE these Kumon and BrainQuest books).  But this year - 1st Grade is the first year she's had actual homework from school. So as we are getting into the routine of carpool and after school activities, I've found it helpful to get some organization around our new REAL homework.

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:-) 

Oh this little "homework" caddy makes things much easier at homework time too. Everything we need to do our homework in one space, so we aren't searching for glue and scissors and tape. I even stick these little Annies Homegrown Organic cookies as a little treat to make homework time a bit more enjoyable.

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.

THIS IS SO EXHAUSTING.   So far its working out pretty good.

Any sanity saving tips you'd like to share are SO WELCOME HERE.


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Deborah Sommerlot said...

It really does make a difference to have a schedule (I believe). My kids are older and we have always relied on something like this to help set expectations. I think it makes kids feel prepared to know what's ahead.

Camesha said...

This sounds a lot like the schedule we keep around here. My kids are 2.5 years apart and it is definitely a challenge and exhausting to keep them both engaged at homework time!


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