With thanks to Tanya Lee of  abilityvillage.org for this guest post…

Homework is never easy, and many kids struggle with the idea of bringing their least-liked activity home. And while it’s true that kids need downtime, a little bit of homework never hurt anyone, and it’s a great way to allow students an opportunity to study in a more relaxed environment.

Today on the SchoolWiseBooks.com blog, we offer up a few homegrown homework help strategies that can help you and your children be fully prepared for the process.

Allow the kids to decompress.  Your children have been at school switching between ELA, science, math, and more all day. They are tired, overwhelmed, and need a break. Even just 30 minutes of talking with friends, exercising, or having a snack will help the mentally reset so that they can look at their homework with a fresh set of eyes.

Reduce clutter. Clutter is the killer of both concentration and productivity. If your child walks into a home strewn with knickknacks, bric-a-brac, and other accouterments at every turn, they’ll have more distractions than their developing minds know what to do with. While your children are relaxing for their half hour, you can spend that time tidying things up. This does not get them off the hook for cleaning their room or doing their chores, but it gives them some grace and a helping hand on a heavy homework night.

Create a comfortable, dedicated workspace. Have you ever tried working at the kitchen table when people were talking, microwaves were dinging, and people were knocking on the door? If so, you know the importance of having a dedicated environment to work in. Take this same idea and apply it to your children’s homework area. Make sure that their homework space is comfortable, climate-controlled, and fully stocked with everything they need. If you wind up having to add an office to your home to accommodate your child’s academics, your addition might pull double duty by raising your home’s value and making it more attractive to potential buyers.

Use a binder. When we were kids, Trapper Keepers were all the rage. But more than just being a stylish accessory, these heavy-duty binders kept us organized by keeping everything in its place. The Don’t Waste Your Money blog recently reviewed many of the most popular binders and offers insight into which might be best for your young scholar.

Color code by importance. Whether you’re using a binder or not, help your child learn how to get themselves visual cues by color coding their homework. They might, for example, keep work due the next day in a red folder and pieces their teacher wants to see later in the week in a yellow folder.

Seek help if you need it. You’ve probably heard educators talking about kindergarten being the new first grade. Well, by the time your student is a freshman in high school, they’re probably taking courses that we would not have seen until college. Even if they are not doing AP and honors, school today is much harder and much more in-depth than it was just a few decades back. This means you may not understand your child’s homework. Don’t despair, there are many free and paid resources that can walk you through even the most complex ideas so that you and your child can complete assignments with confidence.

There’s no getting around it: homework is no fun. But it does not have to be an anxiety-laden experience. The strategies above, from giving your children time to decompress to creating a dedicated workspace and eliminating clutter, will all improve their prospects for putting their school day behind them so that they can enjoy their time at home.

For more from School Wise Books and Carol A. Josel, visit the website often, and check out the informative blog.

~ With thanks, Carol