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Now that the holiday season is officially underway, homework is probably the last thing on any kid’s mind! But with the first quarter of the school year over and report cards distributed, this might be a good time to check in with your child and review how he or she is handling the workload. Are they feeling overwhelmed? How are they doing prioritizing tasks and juggling projects? And the homework – do they need help in organizing assignments or just getting down to work? The task of completing homework can sometimes be a battleground that affects both a child’s self-esteem and your relationship with your child. Here are some tips from a piece I wrote for FamilyCorner.com about developing a homework routine for your child that can help take the hassle out of homework:
Expectations: Examine the school’s homework expectations and guidelines, then discuss them and your own expectations with your child regarding how long to spend on homework each evening and/or any goals for the upcoming semester. Make sure the two of you are on the same page regarding these expectations.
Set up a calendar: A visual aide like this can help with long-term planning and setting priorities. Make note of assignment and project due dates as well as test dates. Advise your child to get the phone numbers of his ‘homework buddies’ – two other students in his classes whom he can call in case of missed assignments or notes – and write these numbers on the calendar.
Concentration takes energy: No one works well on an empty stomach. Offer a healthy snack before they sit down to begin homework.
Set up a time and space for homework to happen: For some kids, that means starting homework right after school; others may need a little time to unwind. Agree on a start time and stick to it. Set up a space that’s conducive for work, be it the desk in his room or the kitchen or dining room table. This space should be away from distractions like the television or computer (unless it’s necessary to complete homework). Stock the space with the necessary supplies (paper, pencils, pens, rulers, etc.) to complete homework with minimal interruptions.
Be the fly on the wall: You don’t want to do their homework for them, but let them know you’re there if they need help (or a little encouragement!).
Packing up: At the end of the homework session have your child neatly put away all papers, binders/folders and supplies into their backpack. It’s better to do this the night before than the following morning when it’s more likely that something might be forgotten.
If they need extra help: There is often a ‘homework help’ period available after school with a teacher or a peer tutor. Check if this is available at your school or if something can be arranged if your child is having trouble managing the homework load.
Will your child be writing a book report over the school break? Check out Tips to Help Your Child Write A Successful Book Report for some ideas to organize the process.
“Chicken. . . again?” my son groaned as I laid out some options for Sunday dinner one morning. I’ll admit we do eat a lot of chicken, and although it’s prepared in a variety of creative and tasty ways (if I do say so myself), I agreed that it was time for something different. So I figured I’d change it up and serve something my son would probably complain about anyway.
But not just any fish. I used scrod (a young cod or firm, white-fleshed fish), a mild tasting fish, in this easy recipe that’s first pan-fried and then finished in the oven. Served with a little tartar sauce or ketchup on the side for dipping, it’s crunchy enough to make your finicky eater forget he’s eating fish. I served it with sautéed spinach and a yam/turnip/butternut squash mash (happily my son likes veggies and my husband will eat just about anything).
Ingredients for fish recipe:
3-4 scrod fillets
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
6 tbs. canola oil
Adobo or salt and pepper for seasoning
Season fish with adobo or salt and pepper on both sides, and preheat oven to 500 degrees
Dip seasoned fish in breadcrumbs, egg, then breadcrumbs again to coat. Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a 12-inch skillet until hot and then fry fish until undersides are golden brown, about 3 minutes. Turn over, add remaining 3 tablespoons of oil, and cook one minute more. Place fish in a baking dish and bake until fish is just cooked through, about 5 minutes.
For the yam/turnip/butternut squash mash, I used a fresh pre-cut vegetable mixture (weight 24oz.). Place vegetables in a microwave safe dish and microwave for 10-12 minutes or until tender. Once tender, place veggies in a mixing bowl and mash with 3 tablespoons of butter, 3 tablespoons of brown sugar (or maple syrup if you prefer) and salt and pepper to taste.
I love spinach – so easy to prepare and serve with any meal! I sautéed some spinach in olive oil, 2 cubes of Dorot crushed garlic and a pinch of sea salt
Here’s the finished product, with the fish served over the yam/turnip/butternut squash mash and sautéed spinach – a delicious alternative when the family nixes the usual chicken dishes!