The primary purpose of homework is to reinforce the information and skills your child learns at school. It has been reported that teachers of all grades are increasing the amount of homework they assign. This makes homework time-consuming both for parents and children. It is helpful when parents can help their children develop strategies to complete homework assignments in stress-free and learning-friendly ways. It is important that parents and children find a plan that works for their family and stick with it. Here are some tips to use when developing homework strategies:
Help your child get into the habit of using checklists for keeping track of homework assignments. A small pad or notebook could be dedicated to listing homework assignments. Once assignments have been completed, crossing off items will help children feel a sense of accomplishment. Some children prefer using a calendar or even a personal digital assistant (PDA) to keep track of due dates and to help prioritize assignments.
Before beginning a homework session, encourage your child to number the assignments in the order in which they are to be completed. Some children prefer to start with one that’s not too long or difficult. Others prefer saving the easy ones for last and starting on the longest or hardest assignments. Be sure to set realistic goals and stop along the way to check progress.
Children often find it helpful to study in the same place every night where supplies and materials are close at hand. This space does not have to be a bedroom, but it should be a quiet, well-lit place with few distractions. Make sure that the television is turned off and that if music is requested, it does not create a distraction.
Children should know that a certain time every day is reserved for studying and doing homework. The best time is usually not right after school as most children benefit from time to unwind first. Parents should include their child in making this decision. Even if your child does not have homework, the reserved time should be used to review the day’s lessons, read for pleasure or work on an upcoming school project.
Ask about the subject and work to be accomplished. Try to relate homework to your child’s everyday life. For instance, fractions and measurements can be reviewed as the child helps to prepare a meal.
Take the opportunity to read a book or newspaper while your child studies. Reading together helps encourage a life-long love of learning for your children.
Take time to review your child’s homework with them, but make sure you are not doing it for them. Point out mistakes and help your child correct them. (Note: be sure to discuss with your child’s teachers how best to provide feedback, because they might prefer to see uncorrected work to guide their lessons in class.) Being familiar with your child’s work will help you identify areas of strength and weakness.
Be sure you understand the goals that the teachers have set for the class. You should consider yourself and your child’s teachers as partners. Also be certain that you understand the teaching methods the teachers are using in the classroom.
If you notice your child is struggling with assignments in particular subjects be sure that you discuss this with your child’s teachers. This is especially important in the early grades when children are learning how to read and comprehend. Early help works and will save your child the pain of falling behind in school.
Applaud your child for successfully completing homework. Nothing builds self-esteem like praise from parents.
For many parents, finding a tutor is another way to offer additional academic support for their child.