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Your 8-year-old now
First off, make sure your child has a designated study area. It can be a desk in his room or at the kitchen table, as long as it's a consistent location. That will reinforce the homework habit.
Don't take over. Let your child work through the assignments and solicit your help as needed. You shouldn't have to "set up" the homework session by reading the instructions and communicating them to your child. Even on big projects and reports, keep it hands off. Take a support role: escorting your child to a library, providing materials, quizzing your child on spelling words.
Observe how your child works. Is he listening to the radio and IM-ing with friends as he works? That's not ideal, although you may choose not to consider it a problem if he completes the work in a timely fashion and pulls good grades. Does he slump and sigh and seem to take forever? Nervously chew his hair or pencils? You can learn a lot about whether your child needs help or a quieter environment by watching him work as well as checking his progress reports.
Keep it positive. Resist the temptation to correct, criticize, or chastise your child. Praise the things he does right and offer comments in a positive way when he gets a series of math problems wrong.
Remember it's not about your child getting everything right – it's about his reviewing and understanding critical concepts. If he has trouble with an area, try to help, but don't do the work for him. His teacher needs to know where he's having difficulty.
Your life now
Looking for ways to keep your yard pesticide free? Some of the best ways are the simplest.
- Get in a regular habit of pulling weeds by hand. Better yet, involve your child. If you let your lawn grow a little longer (raising the level of your mower blades to about 4 inches), the grass grows strong and more weed-resistant.
- Try using soapy water to remove plant pests, or plant native plants, which tend to be more pest-resistant.
- Eliminate standing water (such as birdbaths or wading pools) to discourage mosquitoes, and keep fly swatters around for other winged pests.
- Keep food wrapped up and put away to discourage ants.
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