When children get home from school, the last thing they want to do is sit down and study. They have just spent seven hours mentally engaged in learning. From reading and writing and math, their ever-growing brains need a break. I have found that when I give my kids a scheduled afterschool homework place and time, proceeded by a mental break, it helps to decrease the protests and increase the productivity.
When the kids get home from school, they get about 30-45 minutes to eat a snack and have some down time. If it’s a day that we have something in the evening, then I cut the amount of this break down to enough time for a snack. During down time they either watch TV, play video games, lay down for a short rest, or play with friends. These are things that allow their brains to stop thinking about school and learning for a brief time.
This is a much needed rest that even as adults we try to implement into our long, hectic schedules. For those of us that are SAHMs, we live for nap time, or at least I do. It’s that time of day where the house is actually quiet. I can take care of things I need to do, get some work done, take a shower, or take a nap. Then I am better able, both mentally and physically, to handle the second half of the day. On the days when they don’t take naps I am much more drained, my brain is mush, and I am really irritable by their bedtime.
It is also true for those that work and/or go to school. When they bring work home after being mentally engaged all day, the last thing they want to do is jump right back into it again. Even if downtime consists of taking a quick shower or eating dinner, a short break is better than no break. The mind resets and is able to catch a second wind.
Since my children are still in elementary school, homework is designed to be able to be completed in about 30-45 minutes. That works out perfectly, since we have determined the kitchen table is the best place to do homework. While I’m making dinner, the kids are doing homework. I’m right there to oversee their progress and assist them in any way they need. By the time homework is completed dinner is nearly ready, and the kids have the remainder of the evening to chill out before bedtime.
For those older children that have more work or require more time to complete it, it is still essential for them to have a mental break after school. If they are not finished before, they will need to have additional time after dinner to get it all done. Dinnertime is a great time to determine what your student is working on and to see if they need any help wrapping it up.
When determining your student’s homework time, take into consideration all factors, including their study habits, any afterschool activities, and the amount of school work they have. Additionally, when including homework time into your family’s weekly schedule, be sure to also include one of the most important factors of all: downtime.