Homework Anywhere!

This coming Tuesday marks a new school year here in Madison. It also means that a new year of finding time to squeeze in homework between sport and dance practices is upon us. We all know that the ideal place for our little ones to do homework is in a quiet, well-lit room, with no distractions and all the needed school supplies right at their fingertips. However, we also know the reality – pleads of “Just finish one more sentence!” while we tie their soccer cleats, they shovel dinner into their mouth, and the carpool is waiting outside. While it will not solve all of your problems, I’ve found that making a Homework Anywhere File has helped me be ready for those otherwise lost pockets of time where kids can squeeze in a bit of homework. Sitting in the car while waiting for practice to start? Picking up a sibling when practice runs long? “Bored” at the playground after school while the sibling plays with friends? Well, look at this! I have all you need to get started on your homework! (said with sly smile…)

Here are four suggestions for where to gather your supplies for your Homework Anywhere File.

  1. Go through your own office supplies. Come on, we all know that you don’t need all of those 37 pencils in your desk drawer!
  2. Use the extra supplies you bought when you get your regular school supplies. The teacher asked for one highlighter, but they came in two-packs? Pop the extra one in the Homework Anywhere File!
  3. Head to the local dollar store to get all the supplies at one time, one place.
  4. Rummage through your child’s previous year’s school supplies. She may not let you reuse those blunt crayons she brought back in June for the new school year’s supplies, but they are just fine for homework time!
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Now, what to pack in the file:

  1. Sturdy file that closes. Try to get one without texture so kids can use the hard back of the file as a surface to lean on when they write. Otherwise, pop in a small clip board, too.
  2. Paper: lined, blank, graphing (if your kid’s homework requires it)
  3. Sticky notes: square ones, small rectangular ones
  4. Several pencils: stubby ones are perfectly fine; you can also include fun sparkly or character ones to make homework more fun
  5. Pencil sharpener: don’t want any excuses of “My pencil broke so I can’t do my homework!”
  6. Eraser: especially important if you are reusing last year’s pencils. They NEVER have erasers left!
  7. Colored pencils, crayons, markers, depending on the type of homework your child usually has.
  8. Small ruler, again, if your child’s homework needs it. FYI – I think there are ones on the inside cover of the kids’ assignment books.

After you’ve compiled your Homework Anywhere File, keep it in the car or near the front door so you can grab it on the way out so you are prepared for when there is a spare minute to work. Now, the hard part – getting your kid to actually DO the homework! Good luck!