As parents, one of the most important things we do for our children is support their learning at home. Kids are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows kids that what they do is important. Here are a few tips for helping with homework.
1. Let your child know that homework is important and valuable.
Your kids look to you to set the example for them. If you value homework, they will as well.
2. Set a regular time each day for homework, allowing some time to unwind after school before getting started.
A routine sets children up for success. After being in school all day, your child will need some down time. A snack and some unstructured time are good ways to give the brain a break. When it is time to get back to work, they will be more productive.
3. Be sure your child has all essentials, such as papers, books, school notebooks, and pencils.
Having all the necessary supplies allows your child to use homework time efficiently. Needing to find supplies can drag out the homework process, causing kids to tire before they are finished.
4. Help your child get organized by providing folders for papers and the student planner or Google calendar to write down assignments and due dates.
Organization is a skill your child will use throughout his/her life. Learning how to manage time and prioritize assignments builds a foundation for future job skills.
5. Have a quiet, clean, and well-lit place to study with a comfortable chair. Keep all schoolwork there.
Creating a space where your child can be comfortable and relaxed makes doing homework a more pleasant experience.
6. Discourage distractions, including TV, during study time. Allow study breaks at intervals.
Keeping distractions to a minimum is important to enhance the quality of work. Each child is different. While some children may work well with background noise, others could find it distracting. Take the lead from your child and do what works best for him/her. If your child has been working steadily for a while, allow a short break.
7. Be available to answer questions or help quiz your child, but keep homework as his or her responsibility to complete.
This is your child’s time to practice and work on skills learned in class. It is important he/she do the work as independently as possible. Always have your child read directions and attempt work before asking for your help. It builds a sense of accomplishment when your help is kept to a minimum. Of course, you should help when there is confusion or clarification occurs. The older the child, the more independently work should be done.
8. Spot check homework when it’s completed, but don’t correct assignments unless the teacher has asked you to.
Often times, teachers look at homework as a way to determine how well your child has grasped a concept. Mistakes help the teacher know what skills need more work. If you notice your child struggling on a particular assignment, it is absolutely acceptable to help them, but also communicate your observation to the teacher.
9. Read any comments the teacher has made on returned assignments.
Comments from teachers give good insight into academic strengths and difficulties. Go over any comments or corrections with your child to ensure understanding of concepts.
10. If a homework problem arises, contact the teacher for clarification.
If you have questions or concerns about assignments, contact your child’s teacher. Communication is the key to success!
Of course, helping with homework shouldn’t mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem, or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!