“Every September, millions of parents try a kinds of psychological witchcraft, to transform their summer-glazed campers into fall students, their video-bugs into bookworms. Advice is cheap and all too familiar: Clear a quiet work space. Stick to a homework schedule. Set goals. Set boundaries. Do not bribe (except in emergencies).” --Benedict Carey, The New York Times
I’m a big believer in habits and routines as a route to happiness: Turning chores into routines means we don’t have to constantly nag our kids to do unpleasant tasks, which is good for their well-being and ours.
That said, I’m also one of those artsy types who is easily distracted by things that seem more novel or fun—so much so that my kids, I must admit, have never had much of a homework routine.
I know this isn’t good, and so I’ve begun this school year by pounding the homework table. “This year, we are going to get serious about doing our homework!” I’ve made this pronouncement repeatedly—before conceding that, yes, we can play checkers first (just today). I even got both of my kids their own desks, which I thought was a critical part of Study Skills 101.
Then I read this well-researched article in The New York Times, and found, much to my relief, that I do not need to inflict the study skills of my youth on my own children. Here are the key takeaways that will influence how I Walk The Talk this week:
In conclusion, this week I am going to start my kids in on a homework routine and stick to it. We’ll study a little each day, but not necessarily in the same place. And I’ll be on the lookout for ways to quiz the kids to help cement their learning—so we can spend more time outside playing, and less time on homework!
What study habits do you see as essential?What homework routines work for your family? What makes homework more pleasant in your household? What makes it a battle? Please try the tips above along with me, and let us know how they work!
Christine Carter, Ph.D., is a sociologist at UC Berkeley's Greater Good Science Centerbest known for her science-based parenting advice. She is the author of Raising Happiness: 10 Simple Steps for More Joyful Kids and Happier Parents and she teaches an online parenting class for a global audience.
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