Many families suffer at homework time, due to tensions that arise from miscommunication between parents and students.
You're shocked, you say? Okay, it's no secret that teens and parents have struggled for years with communication problems. But there are ways to ease the stress when it comes to homework.Do any of these situations sound familiar?
- The student struggles with a math problem and the parent tries to help. This only increases the stress when the student still doesn't understand.
- The student realizes at the last minute that s/he needs a poster for an assignment. The parents are tired from a long day at work, and now they have to run out for an unexpected errand. The situation is made worse because everybody will get to bed late.
- The student sits down to do homework, but tension arises when a sibling is making too much noise in the room. A fight breaks out and parents get involved.
- The student prepares to do homework and realizes s/he forgot to write down the assignment.
- The parent tells the student it's time for bed, and the student says "I haven't done my homework yet."
Lots of families face situations like this on a nightly basis. To ease the stress, some families can benefit by establishing a homework contract.
There are lots of payoffs to establishing a clear set of rules. Students can reap the benefits of weekly rewards, and parents can relax by avoiding the unexpected interruptions and arguments at night.
Additionally, grades are likely to improve when students and parents stick to a routine. Studies have shown that homework grades improve when parents become aware of the assignments. Just by paying attention, parents improve kids' grades.
Look over these suggestions for your contract.
Parent agrees to:
- Provide assistance, but only when it's requested by the student.
- Provide tools and transportation necessary for homework completion.
- Reward when relevant.
- Provide a homework space.
Student agrees to:
- Maintain open communication with parents concerning assignments.
- Keep assignment logbook and don't keep any assignments a secret.
- Establish a schedule and stick to it.
- Give plenty of notice when supplies are needed.
- Bring home returned assignments and show grades to parents.
Weekly Reward Examples
- Student is free from weekend chores if all requirements are met
- Student gets a weekly allowance
- Saturday night free
- Trip to the mall
Long Term Rewards
- A car
- College road trip with friends
- Spring break trip
- Spending money for school clothes
- Cash for prom expenses
The possibilities are endless when it comes to rewards for parents. Believe me, they'll benefit just by clearing up all the confusion and frustration at homework time. If grades improve when habits improve, parents will be overjoyed!