Homework Habits & After School Sports

Updated on August 12, 2010
N.R. asks from Des Moines, IA
12 answers

I have a 3rd grader and Kindergartner and would like to start establishing good study/homework habits. The third grader has soccer one night a week and Cub Scouts one night a week. The Kindergartner has soccer practice the same time as the third grader. I'd like to know how others handle homework after school and on nights when they are in sports or other activities. Do you have them complete homework (while having an after school snack) just as soon as they arrive home from school, thereby freeing up the rest of the evening? What works best for you? It seems that they should have a break from homework right after school but trying to get them to start after they've started watching TV, playing with friends, etc., is difficult. At this age they're not doing homework entirely independently. Who usually initiates and supervises to see that homework gets done (elementary ages) - Mom or Dad?

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answers from Omaha on

While my answer won't be popular LOL it certainly worked for us. Homework was done when they got home, no playing, no TV no anything until the homework was done. If they had practice of any kind, soccer, football..whatever, if the homework wasn't done then they didn't go. I found that it developed good study habits and they excelled at school. Also.. if the grades were not held up to a certain standard then they were pulled out of after school activities until the grades were back up. Good Luck!

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answers from Dallas on

Mine are in 1st and 3rd. We have 3 different soccer teams and horseback riding; debating adding in basketball or swim team - so a lot going on after school.

There is no TV in my house during the week, we've found it's too difficult to pry them away from it and on to other activities and we end up arguing - so weekdays tv is not allowed. They are also not allowed to play with friends until homework is done. Homework is almost entirely supervised by me at our house, DH has a long commute and travels frequently so it just makes more sense for me to do it since I work from home and am off when they are out of school.
On days with no practices they come home from school and have a snack, then can go outside or to the den to play for a while (30 minutes or so). After playtime we sit down to do homework at the kitchen table while I cook dinner. The 3rd grader is responsible for helping the 1st grader if she needs it.
On practice days we come home and they get to play for 30 minutes while I make dinner. Then we have an early dinner and do homework, then it's off to practice. After practice we finish homework and have a late snack.

We've found that flexibility in mealtimes has been really helpful. They are STARVING when they get home from school; so sometimes it's easier to feed them dinner after school and a snack when DH and I eat later.

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answers from Kansas City on

I think it depends on the child. Some kids do better at completely homework right after school, while in that school mind set. Some do need a break to refocus on homework.

My son does better with a break but he also goes to a after school program that encourages kids to work on their homework while there. With his ADHD he needs to run off some extra steam, so they let him play and engage in other activities.

When we get home he has to work on his homework at the kitchen table, while I cook dinner. That way I can help him along as he needs it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We have football, boy scouts, karate, cross-country, speech/debate, band, orchestra, choir, etc., etc. so we have ALOT going on everyday in addition to homework. I still have 4 kids at home (8th, 7th, 5th and 4th) and have 2 away at college now. Our school give ALOT of homework so we have to really make it a priority :)

We do snack right when we get home and then go straight into homework and band/orchestra. The kids do their homework right after snack and the TV does not come on until everyone is done (we do homework in the dining room which is adjoining to the living room). Their dad and I split the homework by "types" - I get English and Social Studies, he gets Math and Science. The kids get as far as they can on their own (few questions are OK) in the after snack block of time. We do an after-dinner block for kids that need someone to actually sit down and explain or teach something one on one. If a child has an activity that is directly after school, then homework gets started as soon as they get home. Instruments are practiced after homework is finished for 20 minutes per day, per instrument (I have some kids that play more than 1).

It is tough to manage everything, but I've been doing it for 22 years and the kids have kept up their grades and participate in just about everything under the sun, so it can be done :) The one thing that I do insist on is grades before extras - if grades start slipping, they are given one week to solve the problem or they lose their sport for that quarter.

Good luck

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answers from Buffalo on

I have a 2nd grader, Prek and 13 month old. My 2nd grader, does swimming and cub scouts durring the school year, and we have an understanding thet if the homework is not done there is not activity. Yes I do realize the activities are important but I see that school work is more important, i can always do summer programs instead.

Yes as soon as I get home from work I give them a snack and we sit down and do the work first get it out of the way and then he can enjoy the rest to do whatever with out worring that it will not get done.

In my house it is me the mom who does the homework, my husband has no tolerance for the kids let alone during homework time, and he does not read the directions or check the work so it is always wrong.

I hope this helps, good luck.

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answers from Phoenix on

This is the first year I will be picking up the kids from school. We had a care provider before but don't any longer. What we will do is when I get home after picking up the 3 kids, we will have a snack and TV for about 15 minutes. Then we will all sit down and do homework. Then the kids watch TV while I'm making dinner and dad gets home. After dinner we usually have time for swimming or a walk to the park. Then home for showers, bed. We try to stick to the same schedule everyday. And we don't (yet!) have any afterschool activities. Hope you find something that works for you!



answers from Minneapolis on

My son doesn't get off the bus until 4:15 so evenings feel jam packed for us. He plays outside for about 15 minutes right off the bus but then comes in for a snack and watches 1/2 hour of TV. When that program is done it is homework time...PERIOD. Homework is required to be done before dinner at 6pm. He can not attend his Cub Scouts or other activities if homework is not finished. If we have extra activities planned before dinner then he sometimes does his homework in the car (he just finished 1st grade). 95% of the time it is me (mom) who directs homework. Because dad doesn't get home until a couple minutes before we eat.


answers from Austin on

I always had our daughter come home and have a 30 minute break. She would have a snack, watch tv or video and then we would turn off the TV, she liked music to play, and she would do her homework while I began dinner.

As she got older, she liked to have the TV on while doing her homework and it was fine with me, since it did not distract her (I was the same way).

On evenings that she or we had an event. T She might start homework, but then have to finish it after we got back from practices or games, events. Sometimes she would even work on her homework in the car.

The good news is that at our elementary school, there was not real homework in kinder (I still had workbooks I purchased on my own) and for the older grades the teachers really encouraged us to allow our kids to only work so many minutes per subject and then have our children stop, so the teacher could get an idea of how fast or slow our children were doing their work.

In some of the grades 1st &2nd) they would hand out a weeks worth of work (packets) so that if one night a child could not work on it or did not want to work on it, they could make up for it at another time, just so it was turned in on Friday.

At about 4th grade, I tried to stop asking if our daughter had homework. The teachers said in 5th grade, we should really not need to ask anymore, because the children will know automatically it is just part of their school day. It seemed to work with most kids, but I know there were a few kids, that their parents still had to practically stand over their kids even through middle school to make sure it was getting done.



answers from Tulsa on

In my honest opinion I am telling the teachers we are not doing tons of homework. They are children and are in school hours and hours every day. It stops at home, they get to be kids first at home. If the teachers can't teach them the needed subjects and only send home very minimal homework then perhaps they are not doing their jobs. My grandson was in 3rd grade and had a teacher that would send home work home every other day and it would take him sometimes 4 hours to complete. We battled all year with the teacher. We finally changed his school and the new teacher only gave about 30 minutes of homework once a week. He played soccer with one to two practices a week and usually a single game on the weekend, rode BMX on Sunday afternoons, and had Hip Hop dance and gymnastics 2 hours a week.He had good activities and school balance except for that teacher.

If kids are required to be working on school work 7 hours a day at school and average an hour to four a week at home, that is almost as much time as an adult spends on the job at work. That's just wrong. No wonder America's kids are getting fat and lazy. They may be getting smarter but being outside playing and participating in group sports is much more important to make a well balanced person.



answers from Minneapolis on

We've found that having our daughter do her homework as soon as she gets home is the best way to go. She's not allowed to turn on the tv until her homework is done. She's figured out that if she does her homework at the after school program she goes to, then she has the whole rest of the afternoon/evening to play and do what she wants. If she needs help with her homework it's usually Mom who helps. If it's math homework, then we call in Dad. Homework is always done at the table in the family room with Mom or Dad sitting right there in case help in needed or wanted.



answers from Chicago on

My kids are not in school yet, but I can imagine that when they are, our homework routine will vary according to how much daylight there is. In the early part of the fall, I'll probably give have them start on their homework right after a snack, since they can go play outside afterwards. When daylight savings time ends and it gets dark so early, I'll give them a break when they get home from school so that they can play outside in the daylight, and then set a time by which they must be home so they can begin working on their homework while I make dinner. After dinner we would finish up homework before bath/bedtime. (Here in IL, in the winter time it's dark by 4:30 pm, so the kids would NEVER get any outdoor after school playtime unless I let them have it first.)



answers from Minneapolis on

Come home from school, have a snack, talk to Mom, maybe read for a few minutes. Then sit down to do homework, with Mom at the table, reading her own book but available for help.

TV and playing comes after homework time. Sports are after that.

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