What to do when too much homework threatens to hijack your weeknights

In a bold move to save play time while improving grades, an elementary teacher from Texas said goodbye to homework in a newsworthy note to parents. Mrs. Young’s “NEW Homework Policy” went viral after a student’s mother shared it on Facebook, and parents everywhere liked what she had suggested in its place: “Eat dinner as a family, read together, play outside, and get your child to bed early.”

But what if your child’s teacher hasn’t got the same philosophy? The reality is that not all schools have taken the same initiative.

If homework is still happening in your household, how do you make sure that your evenings aren’t hijacked by it?

  1. Our printable activity log is a visible reminder and easy way to track your child’s physical activity. Suggested activities and fill-in-the-blanks make it simple to fit play into your family’s daily schedule. Hanging around after school to play, stopping in at the neighbourhood playground, or going for a family walk after dinner are all ways to get active together.
  2. Remember that the minutes add up. Research shows that it’s possible and even beneficial to break up the recommended hour of physical activity and spread it out through your child’s day. Encourage kids to take breaks from sitting because even a little movement will help keep them focused on their homework.
  3. Scale back on the after-school activities. If homework is non-negotiable, you may want to look at finding more time in the evening by reducing the number of extra-curricular commitments and using that time to follow Young’s suggestion.
  4. Take homework outdoors. If the weather cooperates, there is no reason that kids can’t do homework outside and it will make activity and play breaks even easier.
  5. Choose the active route. The bus or car may be your child’s only option for getting to school depending on where you live, but for many families choosing to use active transportation is a doable alternative. Teaming up with neighbours and other parents to facilitate active transportation may help your kids do better in school.
  6. Talk to your child’s teacher and share your concerns. Find out if there is any flexibility around the amount of homework or the frequency of it.

Homework policy changes may not happen overnight but making time for family dinners, playground visits, and bedtime stories are goals we can all work towards. Let’s share our best tips for fitting it all in.

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