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Homework: The plight of the American teen

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By Bernadette Lauritzen

The dreaded topic this week is homework.
Can I get a collective sigh? The kindest thing any teacher of young elementary students can do is to give some kind of homework.
I see homework in the lower grades, as the training ground for the middle and high school years.
When you tackle that singular math page, or the reading assignment of a book that has six or eight pages, with 10 words on a page is brilliant.
The way you approach these smaller things will set the tone for your future and for their future.
My best advice is to have a place for it or even a process.
What do I mean by a process for homework?
When our kids were in elementary school, they would come home and have 30 minutes to an hour of free time. Then if things worked out the right way, homework could still be completed before dinner and the evening was free.
Whatever you do, don’t fall into the trap of sympathizing and then complaining about homework and the teacher, it is just a ploy that allows them to put it off even longer. I have often said, many nights it took less time to do the homework than it did to fuss about getting it done.
You can’t escape middle and high school homework, so if you can set a positive tone and a routine when they are young, it becomes ingrained in their being and not a big deal.
The long-term assignments when younger are the best training tools. I can think of science fair projects, for example.
As the parent or caregiver you need to help them with the planning process, using their agenda or your family calendar to map things out into smaller goals. It isn’t just homework, but a life skill.
If you have a hard time trying to understand the dread, put it in terms that help you see their side.
What do you dread after a full day of work? Is it laundry, ironing, exercise? Occasionally monotonous yes, a necessary evil, also yes and will they ever see your side of the issue, unfortunately, not until they have kids of their own.
Have a great week and hang in there.
Assets In Action is a program of the JJAB and the Los Alamos Commerce and Development Corporation.