4 Easygoing Tips for Getting Homework Done On-the-Go

You pick-up your child from school in the afternoon, but by the time you pull in the garage from errands and after-school activities, the sun is sliding towards the horizon.

As you arrive home, a parade of tired little people, shuffling papers, heavy backpacks, and empty lunch bags pile into the house. Whew. It’s been a long day.

But sadly, for many families with school-aged kids, homework threatens to make long days even longer. If you’re regularly weary by the dreaded demands of homework, check out these easygoing tips for using those after-school hours in the car to get it done.

{If you live in a homework-free school district, thank your lucky stars and kindly cast a compassionate glance towards your less-than-fortunate friends}.

Have the right expectations.

First, it’s important to have the right expectations. Your child won’t get that science fair project completed between his piano lesson and soccer practice — but 20-minutes of reading? Totally doable.

Take note of your child’s natural giftings — subjects that seem to come easily to your child. Start with homework assignments in those subjects first and see how your child handles it. You may find after a few weeks you settle into a rhythm covering 2-3 homework tasks before arriving home.

Give a snack first.

If your child eats lunch before noon, he’ll climb in the car ready for something to eat. Bring a snack along at pick-up and hand it over as soon as that seat belt is secure.

Choose something healthy, but make sure it’s something he’ll eat. For some healthy on-the-go snacks, check out these ideas from Parenting Magazine.

Make supplies easy-to-reach.

There’s nothing more frustrating than needing a pen or pencil and not being able to find one — whether you’re at home or in the car.

Solve that in a snap by placing basic school supplies* within reach. An over-the-seat organizer (that doubles as a kick mat — yes!), is perfect for holding pencils, crayons, colored pencils, and a sharpener. No need for supplies like glue or tape since you probably won’t be using those in the car.

*Be sure your car supplies include a clipboard. It’ll provide a hard surface to bear down on and keep those shifty papers organized.

Use learning apps.

If your child doesn’t have homework, you can still capitalize on those minutes in the car by using learning apps. Here’s a few to check out:

  • Spelling City: Load your child’s spelling words into the app each week and
  • Quizlet: Create your own set of facts to study using games and flashcards or choose from one of Quizlet’s premade sets.
  • Ask your child’s teacher: There may be apps your child’s teacher uses in class that is just as easy to use at home. Here’s a list of 15 free apps for the iPad to get you started. An online learning site like ABCmouse.com is also perfect for learning, and it works on any device.
Arrange some quick wins.

As you encourage your child to do homework in the car, you may encounter resistance. It’ll be important to set your child up for some quick wins with small rewards for tasks accomplished.

  • If your child reads aloud for 10 minutes, let him choose a couple of his fav songs to rock out for a five-minute break.
  • Did your child get that math sheet done? Reward him with a few minutes of screen time on his favorite device.

Take breaks from car school, too! Some days the right choice — based on your mood, your child’s mood, or both — is to relax, chit-chat, and simply make. it. home.

Too much homework?

All this talk about homework points to a larger question that may be worth asking:

Does your child have too much homework?

According to the National Education Association, children in first grade should only have about 10-20 minutes of homework per day. A 2015 article by Justin Worland for Time states:

“The National Education Association recommends that elementary school students receive 10-20 minutes of homework per night in first grade. That figure should grow by 10 minutes per year, the NEA recommends. The study found that teachers regularly assign homework that exceeds that recommendation.”

So in addition to these tips for knocking out that homework on-the-go, let your child’s teacher know if homework is taking over your evenings. She’ll be thankful you did.  And who knows? Maybe that homework-free trend will be coming to a school district near you sooner thank you think.


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