Tips for the Busy 4-H Parent: Setting up a Homework Center
These days, children as young as kindergarten age can have homework. Getting your child to do homework during the hectic evening hours is frustrating for many busy parents, but setting up a simple homework center can make it easier.
- Select a location for your child to do homework- an eating nook in the kitchen or at the dining room table are good ideas. Try to keep your homework center location clutter free, and well lit. If you have younger children, they may need a booster seat in order for them to sit at the proper height for writing. Remember that children (even teens) need supervision and assistance with homework, so planning a homework area in a common location is more convenient so that parents can also work on other tasks such as preparing dinner. If the homework center is set up in a bedroom or loft space, you will need to plan on checking in from time to time to monitor their progress. Younger children or children with learning disabilities will need additional, or more frequent help.
- Gather Supplies– it is helpful to have a plastic cleaning caddy, tub, or recycled shoe box filled with supplies that your child might need for completing his homework, so that you don’t waste time looking for supplies each day. Recommended supplies include: pencils/pencil sharpener or mechanical pencils, erasers, colored pencils/markers, crayons, stapler/extra staples, index cards, highlighters, scotch tape, glue stick, dictionary, thesaurus, atlas or globe. Have your child decorate the caddy or box with stickers, paint, glitter glue, or other decorations.
- Limit Distractions– it is best to limit television and stereo/iPod during homework time. If you have more than one child, or a child with ADD/ADHD, you might also want to consider a study carrel. Study carrels limit distractions and help children focus on their work. Your child can help create a study carrel and customize it to his own needs with a tri-fold display board (readily available for less than $5.00 at office supply and big box stores). One display board will make two study carrels. Step by step instructions for creating one can be found online at: http://spoonful.com/crafts/homework-central courtesy of Family Fun Magazine.
- Set up a Reward System– reward your child for getting their homework completed in a timely and neat manner. You can set up a sticker system for earning small prizes, TV or video game time, or even to see an upcoming animated movie or for a family bowling night.
As your family prepares for back to school, don’t forget that the 4-H year will be coming to a close at the end of this month. Enrollment in Florida 4-H beings August 23rd. To re-enroll, visit: http://florida.4honline.com or contact your local UF/IFAS County Extension Office.
Next Week: School Lunch and Snack Ideas that are “Out of the Box”