Helping Your Child with Homework

 Some of the Highlights:

  • Families play a vital role in educating...children.  What (they) do is more important to student success than whether they are rich or poor, whether parents have finished high school or not, or whether children are in elementary, middle, or high school.  Homework can bring parents and educators closer together.
  • Homework provides an opportunity for parents to be involved in their children's education. A parent's interest can spark enthusiasm in their children.
  • Teachers assign homework for review and practice, to get children ready for the next day's class, to teach children to use resources such as libraries and encyclopedias, and to provide time for students to explore subjects more fully than time permits in the classroom.
  • Homework can help children develop good habits and attitudes.  It can teach independence, encourage self-discipline and responsibility, and encourage a love of learning.
  • Homework should never be used as punishment.

 Show That You Value Education:

  • Set a regular time which works well for your family and takes into account the child's age and grade.  If there are scheduled outside activities a flexible homework schedule may be needed.  Posting a weekly schedule of activities, which includes homework, and posting it for all to see, may be helpful to all family members.
  • Pick a place for homework and study.  A desk in the bedroom, a table in the kitchen, or a corner in the living room can all work just fine.  Your child may want to decorate the area with a favorite drawing, a plant, or a brightly colored pencil holder.
  • Remove distractions.  No T.V., no phone calls, no loud music...some children may work better, however, with soft music in the background.  Little brothers and sisters might be encouraged to participate in a quiet activity at the same time to eliminate their distracting the children doing homework.
  • Set a good example.  Children are more likely to study if they see you reading, writing, and doing things that require thought and effort.  Talk with your children about what you are reading and writing, even if it's a grocery list.  Plan activities that support learning, like, trips to the library, nature walks, visits to the zoo or a museum.
  • Show an interest in your child's learning.  Make time for a library visit to do research or check out needed resources.  Ask about the school day.  Instead of, "What did you do today?", however, try, "What was one interesting thing you did today?"  This often gets a more thoughtful response.
  • Talk about the assignments. Some helpful questions include, "Do you understand the assignment?", "What is the assignment about?", What do you need to complete the assignment?", "Do you have what you need to do the assignment?", "Does your answer make sense to you?"
  • Give praise.  Some examples of this are, "Good first draft of your book report.", "You really stuck with it to finish your work!", "You used some really fancy words in your story."
  • Make criticism constructive.  Instead of, " What a messy paper." try ,"The teacher will understand your ideas better if you use your best handwriting."

Helping your children with homework is an opportunity to improve their chances of doing well in school and life.  They will learn important lessons about discipline and responsibility and you will be opening the lines of communication with your children and the school.  You are in a unique positon to help make connections between school work and the "real world," and to bring meaning and, at times, fun to the homework experience.  For more information on homework from this article click on: