Now that school is back in full swing Matthew has been getting homework. Last year they had very little homework, but now that he has advanced to 1st grade, homework is four nights a week with a spelling test every Friday. Things can get a little crazy here in the evenings. Like most other families, we have lots to do each night, and fitting homework in has been a challenge.
Because 1st grade is significantly more demanding than kindergarten, Matthew is extremely over stimulated by the time he gets home. We need time for him to unwind and gain some self-control. But, on the other hand, we often need for him to get homework and dinner in before some of his therapies which end just in time to get ready for bed.
One of our first strategies was to eliminate TV and computer when he arrives home. This is a little tricky because we have two younger boys that enjoy TV and computer, and because I’m trying to watch all 3 of them, make dinner and help with Matthew’s homework, it can get chaotic in the evenings. But those types of electronics take his stimulation to new and hectic levels, so off they go.
We have also tried having him go into a separate room, close the door and relax for a few minutes until he feels composed again. This usually does not last for more and a few minutes, but he gets to decompress from his day.
Then we set priorities for the evening. If he has only a few simple words to write I will have him sit at the table and begin his homework while I get his dinner ready. Then he will eat and we are out the door to therapy. If, instead, he has more intricate homework, he will eat first and if time permits do some homework before leaving for therapy. He will complete the work once he gets home.
This presents its own problems and rewards. By the time he gets home our youngest child is in bed, and my husband is free to be with our middle son, leaving our home distraction free (almost). The problem is that he is tired after a full school day and therapy, which is often very hard work. To make him then concentrate on additionally taxing work that requires fine motor skills can push him to his limits.
Some would say to simply push his bedtime back, but we have found that he does not sleep well and usually gets up even earlier than normal, and he is an early bird already. We’re still trying to figure it all out, but he is a bright kid and, well, we just have to get it right, don’t we?
Maryann (Tribal member since 2005)