How to Help your Kids Maximize their Homework Time (and a Buckwheat Granola Recipe)!

I recently read this article from Better Homes and Gardens and thought it was great, so I had to post!

Learning Verve – by Raven Snook

Applications and attitude adjustments can make your home an optimal study zone.  Here’s how to make your kids maximize their homework:

When summer ends, the stress begins-not just for students, but for parents too.  Fret not, say study professionals.  We quizzed tutors and teachers for their best productivity tips.  By instituting these simple habits and routines in your household, your young scholar can get the most out of homework all year long.


  •  Establish work spaces.  Even if your child prefers roving work stations to a dedicated desk, identify appropriate study spots and make sure she has all the necessary supplies.  ”Try to pick the quietest areas in your home that will have as few distractions as possible,” advises Rima Muth from the national math and reading enrichment program Kumon.  For ‘tweens who may be new to a heavier workload, set a pre-homework routine:  Your child should grab a drink, go to the bathroom, and take care of anything else she needs to do before hunkering down.  ”That way, there are no excuses, delays or destractions,” Muth says.  (Even homework-savvy high schoolers may need reminding of this rule.)
  • Designate homework time.  Choose a specific time for schoolwork: right after school, pre- or post-dinner, even before school if your child is a  morning person and can get up early enough.  It’s important to foster independent learning, but also make sure your kid understands the assignment before she begins.  ”Read the directions with your child,” Muth says.  ”Maybe even do the first problem with her.  After that, let go and see how she does.  If you get into the habit of always helping, that’s not in her best interest.  It’s through making errors that kids learn.”
  • Lead by example.  Want your kids to be a successful person? Show her that you’re one too.  ”You need to model the right behavior,” says Ben Anagnos, a sought-after New York City tutor for middle and high school students.  ”Turn off the TV, shut off the computer, and put down the Blackberry.  During homework time, everyone in your household should be doing something studious.” (This is a good point for me ! I always let my  preschooler watch TV while my second grader is trying to concentrate on homework…not a good idea!)
  • Set realistic goals.  Demanding straight As isn’t always doable.   Instead, sit down with your child, look at her marks from last year, and set grade goals.  Anagnos says tracking improvement is key.  ”That’s the only way a student will know if she’s on target” he explains.  Create a spreadsheet with Excel or Google Spreadsheets and plug in every grade she gets for assignments and tests, so she’ll have a visual representation of her progress.  YOu can also try iStudentPro (, which helps kids keep track of their assignments and tests and even calculates GPA.


  • Encourage old-fashioned study habits.  Kids learn best by reading, highlighting passages, and taking notes in longhand.  Writing things down is the best way to ensure that information sinks in.  ”It’s how you train your brain, how you develop yourself for life,” says Anagnos, who tells his students that it’s like doing “mental pushups.”  Make sure your kids take notes in classes, too, so she’ll have plenty of material to use as study guides   Of course toward the end of the term, she may want to compile her notes into a searchable document.  Microsoft OneNote, for example, allows her to do that, and she can even add media like audio chips, videos, screenshots and even e-mails.
  • Teach time management.  Before your child starts an assignment, ask her how long she thinks it will take.  Set a timer and she’ll soon find out how accurate (or inaccurate) her prediction was.  You’re not being mean, you’re giving her a better sense of how long things take for her.  ”The goal isn’t to be a speed demon,” Muth says.  ”But if assignments seem to take longer than they should, you’ll want to look at why.  Is it a focus issue? Or does your child just need to brush up on certain skills?”
  • Prohibit multitasking.  The adage “multitasking is a great way to do a lot of things poorly” is especially true when it comes to studying.  That means no Facebook and no phone calls.  If your child needs a computer to complete her homework, she should work solely on the assignment.
  • Make sure all physical needs are met.  It sounds obvious, but ensure that your child is getting adequate sleep and healthful foods.  ”Sleep is the most important thing,” insists Felice Schachter, a special education teacher and tutor in New York City.  ”Make sure you have blinds that block the light form coming in first thing in the morning.”
  • Give positive reinforcement.  Your children are under a lot of pressure, and so are you.  Stay calm and patient-after all, they’re still learning.  Frustration won’t help.  But finding something to praise when other things go wrong will do wonders for perserverance.
  • Reinforce why learning is important.  Not to get all philosophical, but it’s easy for kids to lose sight of why doing well in school is important-beyond the need to please their parents and professors.  ”I tell my students that it’s all about options,” Anagnos says.  ”If you go failing classes, you’re limiting your options in life; but if you set goals and work to achieve them, you only increase your options and opportunities.”


I took some great tips from that article…and if you don’t have school-age kids, please pass along to a friend who does :)

I’ll leave you with this yummy buckwheat granola recipe I found on Pinterest (the original recipe came from

I’ve never thought of putting buckwheat in a granola (I’ve only ever used buckwheat in this porridge recipe -  from Oh She Glows) but it’s delicious!

Crunchy Buckwheat Granola Recipe
Recipe type: Snack or Breakfast
Serves: 8
My kids love this for breakfast….they ate it like cereal with some almond milk added. I also keep a little baggy in my car and gym bag…so yummy :)
  • 2 cups oats
  • 1/4 cup whole raw almonds
  • 3/4 cup raw buckwheat groats
  • 3.4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup coconut
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup dried fruit (I used raisins)
  1. Combine all except dried fruit in a big metal bowl and spread on cookie sheet.
  2. Bake at 300 for 1 hour until golden brown, stirring halfway through.
  3. Remove from oven and add dried fruit.

Thanks for visiting and hope you have a happy and healthy day!!!



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About Jennifer

I am the mother of 2 beautiful children, Presley-7 and Cash-5 and married to an amazing husband and father, Todd. I have always thought of myself as a healthy person...I've always loved sports, working out and eating healthy. However, looking back, I've actually had a lot of unhealthy habits. I've tried every diet out there : Low fat (How did I think eating a box of fat free snackwells cookies was healthy?), Low carb (can you say fried pork skins GROSS)... as well as a long stint with disordered eating which started in college as a way to avoid those "freshman 15".
Well it wasn't until my 30s that I realized those kind of diets are just a quick fix, not a lifestyle. I think all foods can fit into a healthy diet as long as you practice moderation. I have found that I feel and look my best when I am eating mostly plant-based foods. Not to say I won't indulge in a filet every now and again... but I find that I crave meat less and less ! I have recently been fascinated with trying new vegetarian recipes...I NEVER thought I could give up chicken...used it eat it everyday, but I actually don't miss it at all.
I am trying to pass these healthy eating habits onto my children so they can avoid some of the diseases related to unhealthy diets.

Thanks for reading and hope you have a healthy day !!!!


  1. Melissa says:

    Love this Jennifer!! I can ALWAYS use some ideas and help with kids/homework! And, the granola sounds so good…can’t wait to try it myself! :)

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