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How to Win the Homework War

With school just about to start, the anxiety is beginning to rise around here.  Not my child’s, but mine.   She’s all set with school supplies and new clothes and happily looking forward to the fourth grade.  But I am already beginning to dread the commencement of the homework war.

Like a lot of kids, mine resents having to do school work at home.  Not only does she regret the loss of what she feels should be leisure time, she claims to not even see the point of doing homework in the first place.  Doesn’t she do enough work in school?  Aren’t her good grades enough to exempt her from taking work home?

I’ve explained until I’m blue in the face, but she refuses to accept the fact that homework is partly the reason she does well in school.  And that the homework she does now is helping her build the work ethic she’ll need to succeed in the upper grades and into college.

In the end, the homework always gets done.  But I would do almost anything to figure out how to make her want to do it rather than be forced to do it.  And according to researchers, there just might be a way.  In two separate studies, they found that kids who expect to enter the workforce in professional, education-dependent  jobs devoted more time to homework than those who didn’t.

“Even among children with the same starting grades, expecting to be a teacher, an engineer, or a nurse when you grow up predicts that they’ll invest more time in homework.  And, not surprisingly, they will have better grades over time than children who expect to have a job in sports, entertainment, or other areas that don’t depend on having an education.”

The kids in these experiments were middle-schoolers and probably more realistic about their career options than most fourth graders. While my girl no longer wants to be a princess when she grows up, Broadway singer is still high on her list.  Perhaps that’s the problem?

How do you get your younger kids motivated to do their homework without a fight?

Image: apdk/Flickr

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