- Homework is a parental opportunity to teach the child how to manage time and do his or her best. Parents are the child’s models. If parents do their best, (s)he will try to do his or her best.
- Parents should provide a quiet place to study with no distractions. This means other children are not playing nearby. It means no TV, phone calls or texting. One hour of focus is better than 2 hours of distracted “studying”.
- Be sure the child is clear on the teacher’s requirements. Some teachers place homework assignments online; the exact location must be known to parents. If homework assignments are not accessible online, an assignment notebook is a must. A reliable classmate to call when necessary is also helpful.
- Help the child determine the amount of time needed and then determine the best time to do it. Some children prefer a break after school; others want homework finished right away before they relax.
- Set a time and keep to it. Avoid last minute work.
- Don’t yell, plead, or give in. Don’t make meaningless threats. Above all, don’t do the child’s homework for him or her.
- Do a bit of it together if necessary.
- Divide homework into parts with breaks in between if the time requirement seems too long for your child.
- Motivate with positive, specific praise. Rewards help sometimes (15 minutes of homework=15 minutes of TV).
- Ask your child if (s)he understands the assignment clearly.
- Ask when it is due, and if (s)he needs any other extra resources to do it.
- If it is a longer paper or project, help develop a plan.
- If it is a test or a presentation, ask if practice with you might improve the result.
- Check homework when complete. Is it correct? Is it neat? Did it take an appropriate amount of time?
- Contact the teacher if your child can’t do the homework, does it poorly, can’t do it in a reasonable time, or if (s)he doesn’t bring homework home. Approach the teacher in a co-operative spirit. After all, you both want the same thing—your child’s success.
- If homework involves studying rather than written work, check out our Tips about
Modern teachers have much content to cover, sometimes too much. A known rule of thumb indicates that a child should have 10 minutes of homework for each grade (10 min.for Grade 1, 20 min. for Grade 2, 30 min. for Grade 3, etc.). If your child seems to be spending endless hours on homework, talk to the teacher(s) about it. Decide if there really is too much homework, or if the student needs some guidance in study skills.
For a different view on homework, see this blog post: The Gift of No Homework
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