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Don’t Let the New School Year Be ALL About Homework

My children are grown now, but at the beginning of September I always remember what it felt like in our house as my kids started a new year. In my experience, there are two types of parents. Some are excited at the prospect of taking the kids back to school, adjusting to a regular schedule, and (if they’re lucky) having some free time to themselves. But for the other type of parent, the school year brings hours of agonizing homework every night.

Suffice it to say I wasn’t the excited parent when school started. Having a daughter who was dyslexic and needed a lot of help with homework was labor intensive for both of us. I basked in our leisurely summers and seasonal breaks. I loved having no assignments hanging over our heads, and being able to do fun things with the kids. It wasn’t that I minded helping with homework. But in our house, back to school meant our relationship became all about homework.

I talked to my daughter’s teachers about the amount of time it was taking, and they all said the school only expected her to do an hour of homework each night. It became clear to me they weren’t parents of a student who struggled. Otherwise, they’d have known we couldn’t get through one subject in one hour, let alone all of them! Two to three hours a night was our usual situation. For the sake of sanity, I came up with ways to make homework easier. I’ll share them in my next post.

How are you feeling about homework at the start of the school year? If it’s not too bad, that’s great news! But if you are anything like me, you may already be counting the days until your next break. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post, when I’ll explain how I managed to manage homework.

Debra Gawrys is the founder of Connections Learning Center. This blog allows Debra to share her expertise as a special education teacher and as the parent of a daughter who grew up with dyslexia and a son who had sensory integration issues.