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HomeHealth & BehaviorEmotional Well-Being

Bright Ideas for Divorced Parents

Page 3 of 4

By GreatSchools Staff

Thoughts on Schedules

Establish regular routines and stick to them.

A single mother of an 8-year-old boy writes, "It is absolutely imperative that both parents spend regular time with the child when possible. Otherwise, it will affect the child's sense of worth and value. So, it is up to me to be cooperative and supportive of any effort his dad makes toward seeing his son. I set aside my issues about our break-up and divorce in order to encourage my son's need to spend time with his dad.

"My son sees his dad every Sunday afternoon for an overnight. His dad takes him to school or daycare on Monday. He also sees his dad Wednesday after school. My son needs time to readjust to our home, so I've asked his dad to return him around 7:00 on Wednesday. The schedule flexes around his dad's work and motorcycling schedule."

The custody schedule can be an important factor in school success.

A remarried mother of four writes: "One thing we found is that the schedule is very important. Dividing the week makes homework hard to track. In my husband's case, he and his ex-wife have moved to a week-on, week-off schedule with their son and have been able to keep on top of school work by means of communication with the teacher. He is in sixth grade and his teacher emails all three of us where he is with his homework each week. It isn't perfect, but it helps.

"Personally, I feel that at 12- or 13-years-old he should be able to keep track of his own homework, but his parents split up in first grade and he has learned that denial and procrastination really work well since he is moving from house to house. If you can avoid creating a habit like this I would definitely suggest it. Let your child know that homework is a priority to both of you by staying on top of it.

"In my case, my ex-husband is more interested in having a good time than encouraging homework. I have the children during the school week and my ex-husband has them every Friday after school until Saturday morning, alternating with Friday after school until Sunday evening. This has worked fine until this year (my oldest is also in sixth grade) when his homework load increased. My son is responsible for his homework over the weekends at his dad's, but we keep in mind during the week if he will be gone over the weekend and quite often try to get it done before then. I have to say there have been quite a few times when he comes home at 6 p.m. on a Sunday night and cranks on homework for Monday morning.

"My suggestions are:

  • Have a written homework planner that tracks homework.
  • Review it with your child every day.
  • Set aside time for homework.
  • Communicate regularly with your child's teacher.
  • Communicate where your child is with homework to the other parent. (This can be done via email or phone.)
  • All supplies for homework should be a staple at both houses.
  • The less your child has to carry back and forth the better.
  • Let your child know that homework and school is important to you."

Comments from GreatSchools.org readers

08/19/2008:
"I have a teenage stepdaugher (16), whose mother is a control freak and married to an even worse control freak. We don't get any notice for school events unless the daughter brings up something about a dance or something to that effect. We never know about PTA nights or conferences, etc. The only reason we receive any grades is because her school has made it possible for us to receive emails and alerts when she hasn't done her homework or if she's tardy, etc, and her father is on the school's mailing list for when report cards go out. Now, we're trying to fight for custody, and I already know it's going to get ugly. We would like to have her transferred to a school near us (for obvious reasons), but they just don't seem to stack up to the high school she's currently attending. Despite the fact that her current school is 'better,' her grades have suffered due to an unhappy home life with her mother and stepfather. If we were to keep her at the same school she's currently attending, it would be a 40-minute commute each way, and her mother would definitely NOT assist in the transportation. It would be 1/2 hour each way for me to pick her up at the end of the day at that school. We're also concerned that her mother would try to take her in the middle of the school day and we wouldn't see her again. If the child's grades are going to suffer because she's unhappy, is that less important than which school is better for her? This whole custody thing came up rather suddenly due to an emergency situation last weekend, and we have the school year starts next week. Help! "
05/14/2007:
"I really like the idea about having the teacher email info. We have been using 2 folders in her school bag 1 red folder labeled 'Mommy' folder and 1 blue 'Daddy' folder, but we still don't always recieve the information we need or have it on time, like my Step-daughter asked me to chaparone her field trip the next day! I couldn't go because of the short notice since the note was not passed along and the teacher forgot to put an additional note in her bag. We also have the problem of Homework not getting done or the due dates note being remembered by my Step-daughter. Having a calandar of Homework due dates sounds great!"
05/11/2007:
"I really enjoyed reading the creative ideas parents came up with to share their childrens' school experience. I am a single, divorced mother of three in post Katrina Mississippi. I have a college education and have to work all the time to support my family. I have almost no time to participate like I would like to because we would just about starve if I didn't work outrageous hours to provide. The state of Mississippi requires so little for child support that it is diffficult to survive. I make too much money to qualify for any help...so here we are."
05/11/2007:
"as a step parent i feel it is my obligation to help my step child with her school work. also does her dad just never has the time he has a late work schedule. but her mother never understood why her 'step mom' always helped her daughter with homework.she told her daughter to tell me not to help her.i was on that phone quick. i thought the important part of the issue is that someone helped the child. i have been in my step daughter's life since she was a year old.she is now eight. i have two of my own children which are pre schoolers but i am a stay at home mom & i treat all of my children the same.each home runs differently we feel a sense of stability is super important in a child's life.remarrying every two years or so NOT HEALTHY.finish raising these children then move on if things do not workout the second or third time around "
05/10/2007:
"This article was very informative and encouraging. I am recently divorced and I still have some anger and emotions because of her cheating and telling child he is an Uncle. etc. However, I do not express my anger in front of my son. However, she has recently stop giving him my phone messages. She has full custody. Her actions and various other reason makes it difficult to deal with her. However, I want to do what is best for my child."
05/10/2007:
"This article was very informative and encouraging. I am recently divorced and I still have some anger and emotions because of her cheating and telling child he is an Uncle. etc. However, I do not express my anger in front of my son. However, she has recently stop giving him my phone messages. She has full custody. Her actions and various other reason makes it difficult to deal with her. However, I want to do what is best for my child."
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