Ah, another school year…and another year of fighting the “homework battle.”
As much as I disagree with the amount of homework given to elementary school students, this seems to be a trend that is staying put for now.
Though my oldest daughter loves school, she’s definitely exhausted after eight hours in the classroom. Coming home with a stack of worksheets to complete seemed like too much, until I figured out that it was our after school routine that wasn’t working.
What we used to do about homework
Last year I tried to have Lilu complete her homework as soon as she returned home so we could “get it over with.” Homework was the number one priority.
The homework would get done, however, it could sometimes be a struggle and take three times as long as it probably should.
Then I figured out what should have been a no-brainer: my daughter is seven and she is overloaded. She needs time after a long, draining school day to rest and recharge before getting into the “homework mode.” And honestly, second grade homework is not going to make or break the rest of her life. I needed to relax about it too!
3:30-4:00: After school snack
4:00-6:00: Free time for individual quiet activities (like reading) or playing with Annabelle
6:00-6:30: Walk around the neighborhood
8:00-8:30: Bedtime routine
Of course, these are just approximate times to give you an idea of what we do all day. I don’t actually set a strict schedule. Sometimes things change if we have an after-school activity or company.
I think this new “schedule” works so well for a few reasons:
- Eating a snack right after school restores energy (this is something we also did last year).
- A large block of unstructured free time allows Lilu to “decompress” after having to be sit still and “be on” all day. She can choose what she would like to do after having to follow directions for such a long period of time. Sometimes she wants to sit quietly and read, others she wants to hang out and play.
- A walk around the neighborhood immediately preceding homework actually seems to improve focus. Lilu, like many kids in our “go go go” world, can be over-stimulated and physical activity releases some of this pent-up energy.
We are a couple weeks into the new after school routine now, and things are going smoothly. The girls are getting along and enjoying each others’ company. Homework is completed in a reasonable time frame without me standing over my daughter’s shoulder. Best of all, everyone is more than ready to go to bed at the end of the day! No bedtime struggles!
Lilu’s favorite “quiet time” activity is reading, and her current favorite chapter books are the Ivy & Bean series.
She’s also been loving our Paragon Book Buddies selections from August, especially “A Collection of Nursery Rhymes,” which she reads to her little sister. The illustrations in this book are absolutely beautiful and it even includes instructions for the physical movements that go along with so many of the songs. These are our two Parragon Books Selections from August, available on Amazon:
**We were sent these books for review purposes; however, all opinions are 100% mine.
What does your after school routine look like? I’d love to hear your tips and what works for your family!
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