How to Help with Homework
A wide range of feelings about homework exists among parents and teachers. But one thing is highly probable – you remember having homework when you were in school yourself. You may remember it as a bore, a drudgery, something to avoid. Or you may remember it as challenging, interesting and worthwhile.
What is important for your child, however, is your attitude and approach to homework now. If you take a positive attitude about homework, so will your child. That’s good, because homework is a valuable part of education.
As teachers, we view homework as an extension of the classroom. It gives students practice in using what they learned in class. It allows students to develop self-discipline, self-confidence and a positive self-image. Homework provides students with an opportunity to work independently, to use time wisely and to develop a sense of responsibility. It fosters good study habits that will be useful throughout the student’s school career. Homework provides a link between home and school. It lets you see what your child is doing in school, gives you an idea of your child’s abilities, and opens up avenues of communication between you and your child. It gives you an opportunity to get involved in your child’s education.
Not only that, but parent involvement in a child’s schoolwork encourages him or her and provides positive reinforcement.
A child work better knowing you’re interested. So, both for you and your child, we urge you to get involved in homework.
- Provide a Study Area – The specific room chosen for homework makes little difference. The atmosphere in that room, however, is important. The child should have an area that has good lighting, proper seating and sufficient space to place materials. Distractions such as radio, TV or other children should be kept away. Reference materials such as a dictionary, atlas and encyclopedia are helpful.
- Provide a Specific Time Period – Provide your child with a specific time period each day for homework. You may want to establish firm rules against using the phone, watching television, listening to music or participating in certain activities until homework is completed.
- Think Positively – Homework assists your child’s progress in learning. Don’t pressure your child just for grades. Try to get him or her to see the value of the knowledge being acquired. Don’t tell your child that he or she doesn’t have to complete work he or she doesn’t want to do, and don’t do the work yourself. Give as much assistance as possible, but remember that the homework is your child’s responsibility.
- Call the Teacher – If your child is having difficulty with homework, a call to the teacher will often clarify or solve the problem. Try not to complain to your child about the homework. This may cause him or her to lose confidence in the teacher or lose interest in schoolwork. If your child seems to have too much homework, check with the teacher.
- Watch for Signs – If your child is having difficulty completing homework, check his or her study habits. Moving lips when reading, writing slowly or unclearly and using poor study skills are signs your child may have problems that reduce his or her ability to get homework done. Help the child work on these areas. Your child could be having personal problems unrelated to the schoolwork. If so, help him or her deal with these distractions.
- Supervise Homework – Make sure your child has enough time, understands directions and works carefully. Your supervision and discipline will gradually help your child develop his or her own discipline with regard to homework.
- Help Get the Homework Habit – When your child doesn’t bring work home, find out if he or she is completing it in school, forgetting it or failing to bring it home. Get your child into the habit of doing homework.
But if you find your child actually has little or no homework to do – relax. Learning is not how much time a child puts in at home or how many homework papers he or she completes, but the understanding that develops from what is done.
Here are some specific ways you can help your child with homework:
- Help with memory work, drills or reviews by calling out words or questions for your child, or by listening to your child recite memorized work.
- Help find materials and resources such as magazines, books and newspapers you have in your home.
- Give some ideas for projects related to the homework.
- Discuss work that’s been completed. Encourage your child to talk about the work and share ideas.
- Praise the things your child does well. Don’t dwell on shortcomings.
- Provide breaks in the time periods established for homework.
Be persistent in your daily attention to your child’s school work.