Does your child struggle with completing homework at home? Read our tips on How to Help Your Child with Homework.
It’s a familiar refrain every afternoon everywhere: A child gets off the school bus, plops an overloaded backpack onto the kitchen counter and says, “I have too much homework!” As a parent, helping your child with homework may be like a second job.
Homework may seem like a dirty word to children and parents alike, but statistics show that children who spend more time on homework do better in school and develop good habits and attitudes. When children do homework, they’re connecting school and home life and helping their parents get involved in their education.
Homework may be assigned to review, reinforce and practice what was taught during the school day. Homework can also prepare a child for an upcoming lesson, give him practice using Internet and media resources, teach him to work independently, and simply get more done than a class period permits.
Before parents can help their children with homework, they need to understand their teachers’ homework philosophy, expectations and the grade weight given to homework assignments.
Parents who are involved in their children’s school are taking the first step in homework help by understanding what’s going on in the classroom.
How to Help Your Child With Homework
Does Your Child Have Too Much Homework?
Homework expectations can range from 20 minutes per day to three hours per day, depending on a child’s grade level and course difficulty.
If you think your child’s homework is inappropriate, talk to his teacher about it and voice your concerns.
Regardless of whether you feel your child has too much homework, not enough, or not the right type of homework, by encouraging him to do his homework well and on time, you’re teaching him to follow rules and get the most out of his education.
Know Your Child’s Learning Style and Homework Methods
As tempting as it is to get your child to adopt your old homework methods, the homework style that works best for him may differ. Your child may most effectively study for a test by being quizzed by you, or he may do better studying on his own.
Observe your child and determine whether he works better alone or with others, if he studies best by writing, reading, listening or through hands-on activities.
How to Help Your Child With Homework
The US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement’s handbook on Helping Your Child With Homework suggests parents set a regular time and place for homework, have supplies on hand, and get involved by offering help and guidance, and being in touch with what’s going on in school.
Setting the Right Atmosphere for Homework
Set a regular homework time for your child, based on what works best for your child and the family schedule. Some children do better by getting homework done immediately after school. Others need an hour or two of time to unwind, play and relax before starting in on homework. Arrange homework time around extra-curricular activities, but emphasize to your child that homework is a high priority.
Provide a quiet, well-lit study area in your home for your child to do homework. Remove distractions and make homework time a no-phone, no-iPod, no-TV zone.
Stock your home with pens, pencils, erasers, notebook paper, a stapler, pencil sharpener, paper clips, glue sticks, a calculator, maps, scissors, a dictionary and a thesaurus. It’s a good idea to also have composition notebooks, folders and poster board, for last minute projects.
Show Your Child His Homework is a Priority to You
Show your child that you’re interested in his schoolwork by asking him what went on in school, what assignments he has, and what grades he’s received. “What happened in school today” is the perfect dinnertime conversation for a family.
Be available during homework time. If possible, arrange to be home and around the house when your children are doing homework. Even if you’re fixing dinner, paying bills, or reading the newspaper, being available means your child can come to you for help.
Keep open the lines of communication with your child’s teachers. Many teachers now have Web sites and calendars posted on the school Web site with assignments, test dates and project due dates.
You can help your child with homework without doing the work for him. Taking over a project or providing too many suggestions or criticisms will erode your child’s confidence and keep him from getting the benefit of the assignment.
Be generous with praise for your children’s work, and make any criticism constructive.
Offer suggestions to your child in scheduling his own deadlines for projects. Help him avoid cramming for tests and doing big projects the night before they’re due, by dividing up the work on a calendar.
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