Monday Mom Tip (5 tips to handling homework time when you have multiple children)

Are you ready?  I know you are!  If you’ve been reading my blog for a while (or read my book(s)), you know I have 3 children.  I have an 8th grader, a 4th grader & a 2nd grader.  They have VERY different homework.  How do we cope?  Well, it took a little trial and error.  Not just because of the ages, but also their homework volume, their teachers’ teaching styles, the medium (electronic, paper or a mix of both), the subject matter and last but not least, each individual child’s learning style.

So on to the tips:

1.  Be sure YOU’RE ready to do homework

There’s nothing worse that a parent who’s tired, angry, irritated, impatient, distracted or sleepy trying to help with homework.  Yeah, I called it out.  Love ya.  Just trying to help you with the process.  If you need 30 minutes to wind down before you begin, add it into the schedule.  Be sure to monitor your behavior and adjust the schedule as needed.  Remember, you’re there to HELP with homework, not be a deterrent from the educational process…

2.  Get all of your materials ready before you begin.

Round up those elusive erasers, pencils, paper and other items before you begin.  Don’t invite frustration by being ill prepared.

3.  Know where to begin before you start.

I hate agendas but I love agendas!  I’m talking about those spiral bound planners that our school system adopted.  They’re a pain sometimes (remembering to sign them every night mostly), but they help teach organizational skills, time management and even have great tips, tools and notes in them.  We check there before we begin so no one can say they don’t know what they have for homework.

4.  Adopt a method

Here are 3 different methods we tried (well, what I can remember anyway).  You may find one works for your family.  Feel free to leave a method of your own below.

Stagger method

After observing your children, figure out who needs how much time.  Also find out who works best when.  We found that working with our youngest first (our most eager child with the least amount of homework) would allow us to gear down from work then get our homework mojo in gear.  By that time we can work with the wiggly middle child who has by that time had time to wind down from school and focus.  Then the oldest walks in the door and we are ready to help him where he needs it.  *He’s mister mature and only usually requires light supervision of grades using a grade portal provided by the school system.  I’m so glad he’s that way (I’m riding the wave while it lasts-high school is coming in less than 7 months!)

Team method

I help one while the husband helps the other.  Then we switch depending on the subject.  Sometimes I’ll recruit my oldest to help, too.  My children are required to read 30 minutes a night.  Big brother can handle that.  He can also check long division, multiplication and other math problems.  Then I usually end up checking everyone’s math (go figure-these people must expect me to actually use these math degrees!  lol)

Dogpile (not for the faint of heart)

This is the crazy, noisy, disarrayed method.  It’s when everyone helps someone with something.  There’s no rhyme or reason and it’s completely disorganized!  I can’t say it works perfectly, but there are nights when company’s coming in 30 minutes, the house has to be cleaned and dinner is being cooked.  It’s for the truly desperate.  Don’t judge.  If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.  If you haven’t, keep living…

5.  Take deep breaths and GET HELP!

There’s nothing wrong with delegating homework time.  Hire a tutor, barter with a school teacher (a man once hired me on a long term basis in exchange for a new computer-sweet!), see if they can stay after school with their teacher, send them to an after-school program or ask around and see if your school system has a homework hotline, online tutorial program or websites to beef up their skills.  You’re not in it alone, kiddo.  See what’s out there to meet your needs.  You’ll be glad you did!

I hope you enjoyed these tips.  I had to bulk up on them since I’ve been so busy.  Being a mom must take priority over being a blogger.  But I think you know that 😉

Until next time, try NOT to kill your kids!!!



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