Problem: I wasn’t really sure to do with myself and my kids after school, things weren’t getting done, kids and mom were unhappy.
I am usually a stay at home mom, but now that all 3 of my kids were at school I was acutely aware that the after school timeframe just wasn’t working to anyone’s benefit. I wrote this post about feeling like a huge failure. I got a LOT of great ideas (check out the comments, there are a lot of good ones!). I finally came up with this plan:
3:00 Come home, perform after school checklist (which is just putting backpack & lunchbox away and having a snack.
3:15’ish — have said snack. I try to sit with my kids at this time, and ask alert questions like who they ate lunch with, what they did in their extracurricular that day, if they got in trouble, stuff like that. Towards the end, we review their homework (soapbox, why do Kindergarteners have homework?). Then, I give them until 4 pm to unwind. If their rooms were clean before they went to school, they can use electronics at this point. Be it the Kindle, computer, or TV they can just veg out. This part has been a real eye opener. I forget how tiring school is and that they just want to BREATHTE. So, breathe, they can. I also take some time to tie-up loose ends on the blog/email, etc.
4:00 time to get on homework. I even have a timer set on my tablet to tell everyone it’s time to get going. Since the brain break from 3-4 is sort of new, I hold it over their heads if they don’t get going. At this time, I try to prep some dinner stuff in the kitchen to be available for questions with my 5 year old. She probably only has 1/2 hour of homework (still, too much — anyone else agree?). I let my 5th grader handle his own homework, and he usually does it upstairs in his room. Both of my boys have large desks available for homework if they’ve kept them somewhat clean.
5:00 — I start dinner. I rotate each child helping me make dinner. The other ones, once homework and jobs are done are able to chill-ax again.
I won’t make it a secret, I hate homework. Anything beyond reading for fun just seems like busy work. BUT, we do it because I believe in listening and obeying our teachers. Don’t tell my kids. Shhh….
So, does your after school routine look different?
P.S. If I had my wishes it would look like this: 3-4 pm, Hilary sleeps. I am still SO tired at that time frame, even while watching my lunchtime carbs. Zzz…
I may not have any kids, but I need a routine for that time of day, ha! It’s the time that’s right before the Mister gets home from work (sometimes, anyway) and it’s not worth starting on something new, but not worth taking a nap during…too early to start dinner, but too late to have a snack. It’s just blank time in my day that I can’t figure out, ha!
I do like, though, that you give the kids a chance to relax after school. Elementary school has recess, bigger schools have “passing time” (or that’s what we always called it, the time between classes). There has to be a break in there somewhere!
I think that time of day is hard regardless of what you have going on! 🙂 Thanks for commenting Havok — I always enjoy your viewpoint!
Because I’m not home before 5:30, I have to cook while my 8 years old daughter does her homework at the kitchen table. The biggest challenge is to keep my 4 years old daughter busy and not running around us. My husband is a trucker. So he’s not always with us for the after school routine. I’m still searching for the perfect routine.
Oh man, kids of different ages makes this a whole other ball game. At least next year they’ll both have homework. 🙂 Sadly, I’d probably utilize the TV at that time…..
Esther - sewpollyesther says
We have done well with our morning routines – hoping the children’ have remembered for when they head back to school tomorrow, but these are great tips for the afternoon. We have to work around after school activities on Mondays and Tuesdays but I’m going to have a think about how we can make the other evenings more relaxing.
I totally agree with you on the homework question. I was in high school before I had any homework other than reading and spellings. I’m lucky my reception kid (4 yrs, 5 next week) just has reading and sight words to learn and my year 2 kid (6, almost 7) has one lot of homework each week which is supposed to take around 30 minutes on top of her reading and spellings. I even think that that is too much, poor little blighters just need to relax and play and move their bodies after a full day at school.
Good luck with the blog I’ve been enjoying reading and like you I’ve been blogging for years but just very recently started building up my profile. It’s fun so it’s great to hear how others are doing.
Studies seem to show that homework isn’t helpful at all. Just seems like a lot of work for little results. 🙁
I totally agree with you comment about “studies” Hilary. I really wish I could take my kids homework away, let them be kids, and still get good grades in public school. I am scared to start homeschooling, since I would be their teacher.If my kids do not complete their homework they get poor grades. It is a sad cycle.
It’s a dumb cycle. They need to be graded on their efforts in school and what they know — so we can help them learn what they don’t know — in ways that WORK FOR THEM.
Also, I just checked out your blog. I love the color organization of the shirts. Very cool. 🙂
Such a refreshing article. Our routine is very similar and it’s nice to read from someone on the same page :). We are fortunate to have a school that doesn’t push homework, we have the usual reading and spelling. Then the my Year 3 & Year 5 have a bit of maths to complete by the end of the week or a mini-project or topic to research. It’s nice not to have too much to fit in but, I also want to strike the right balance in creating good habits for when they need them in the serious high-school years. For us, there is NO way my kids are ready for homework straight after snacktime – they really need downtime to recharge, a bit of lego, a bit of telly, a bit of playing babies – whatever they so desire after being told what to do all day at school 😉 So, your idea of setting the timer for bringing them back to task is such a good idea. And I really like the turn-taking for dinner prep. My kids are always keen to help with meals but it helps to have a system for that so I’m not too pressured to let them have a go. It encourages contributing in a nice way. A great way to give them what they need and then get them back onto some responsibility too. Thanks for a lovely blogpost on getting the balance planned out.
Thanks Jgirl — I wish I could figure out a way to tactfully mention that Kindergarten has way too much homework. Still figuring that out. 🙂