this is a guest post by Shellie Hochstetler who is a stay at home mom of four, married for almost 23 years to her high school sweetheart, and is determined to help others know that they can survive the teen years with their sanity and hair intact. From shaving legs, shaving chins and from pimples to prom, Shellie has walked, limped, and flat out sprinted through those teen years to realize some really great friendships with her kiddos.
Nobody ever told me that after I had graduated from all of those years of schooling myself, that I would have to repeat kindergarten through twelfth grade all over again through my children.
Not sure how fair that is, but it is necessary none the less.
We have drawn more maps and practiced the “Names of the Presidents” song more times than we can count. We as parents of teens are trying to help decipher mathematic equations that I know were discovered after we graduated.
If you throw in our teens deep seeded desire to become independent of anything that smacks of authority, and you have a wonderful afternoon of homework.
How do we get them to take this seriously? How do we help them develop strong study habits that will aid them not only in middle and high school but also on into college and their professional lives? Yep, I said it. They are growing up and these things matter. They really matter.
So, what do we as parents to to keep our sanity?
Here are 4 tips that Parents of Teenagers can use to help their teenagers with homework:
1. START WITH DOWN TIME- When my teenagers get home they know that they have about an hour to just relax. They can hang out and decompress from school, from friends, from teachers, and mostly from expectations. It’s their choice what that down time needs to look. This gives them the opportunity for some independence. But they also know that nothing else in their life gets to happen (i.e. friends, phone, or fun) until that homework is done.
2. CREATE THE ENVIRONMENT- I created a specific place that has all the necessary tools (paper, pens, computer) and none of the unnecessary distractions (tv, siblings, even parents) for my teenagers to do their homework. This really helps their focus especially when I consistently have them use the same place for their work. Routine is essential.
3. CLEAR COMMUNICATION WITH THE TEACHER- My teens can be very, shall we say, creative in assuring me that all of their homework is getting done. And that is why it is so important for me to have clear communication with all of the teachers who are in my teen’s life. I don’t know one teacher who isn’t grateful when a parent is actively and respectfully involved in their teens education.
4. BE A GREAT CHEERLEADER- They have to know that even with homework I have their back. I let my teenagers know that I am there to help, not to judge, ridicule, or be impatient . My goal is to help, listen, and back off when necessary. Be willing to get your teenager help through hotlines, homework help sites, or tutors if necessary. Not to make them feel less than but to show them that it’s ok to ask for help. One of the greatest disservices we do to our children is to make them think that we should always have it together and always know the answer.
Hang in there moms and dads. You will graduate again. At least it feels like it when you watch them walk that aisle and receive that diploma that should have your name on it somewhere!
What are some ways that you have conquered the homework battle in your house?