Homework Help for Parents-Part 4

by Laurie Laurendeau on March 22, 2010

Homework is a fact of life.  But, it doesn’t have to be a constant source of frustration between you and your child.  I hope you have learned some good homework tips that you can use with your child in the other 3 parts of this homework help for parents series.

The most common concerns I hear from parents about homework are the following:

  1. It takes my child too long to do homework.
  2. I never know if I should help her, or let her figure it out on her own.
  3. I want to show my child a different method than she was taught at school, especially in Math.
  4. It’s always a battle with my child to get it done.

I have addressed numbers 1, 2, and 3 above in previous posts, and I will discuss the final concern today.  To ensure that you receive each story in the series, please subscribe to our RSS Feed.

  1. It takes my child too long to do it.
  2. I never know if I should help her, or let her figure it out on her own.
  3. I want to show my child a different method than she was taught at school, especially in Math.
  4. It’s always a battle with my child to get it done.
  • Homework should not be a battle.  It is usually part of a child’s education, beginning from the early grades.  Setting up a good routine as early as possible will help with this often-dreaded task.
  • Be sure your child has a quiet, clutter-free space to work in.  For some children, working at the kitchen table seems to work.  For others, a desk in their room is a better alternative.  Learn what works for your child.  Some older students even prefer to have soft music playing in the background.  If you feel as though this does not distract your child, let them listen to the music.  You and your (older) child need to be the judge of this.
  • Be sure your child has all the necessary tools to complete homework each night.  A workspace equipped with pencils, rulers, erasers, coloring pencils, glue, tape, scissors, stapler, sticky notes, scrap paper, lined paper, counters (for younger children in Math), dictionary, atlas (for older children), compass and protractor (for older children) would all be useful.
  • Once your child has an organized space to work in that works for her, it’s important to determine when is the right time for her to complete her homework.  Some children do better with completing their homework immediately after school, before they get distracted by other things.  Other children need a bit of downtime, preferring to play or read a bit before tackling the homework.  Find out what works best for your child.  Most parents want their children to finish their homework right away, to “get it over with”.  However, if your child is mentally drained from school, this might not be an effective time for homework completion.
  • You will also need to think about what other activities your child has going on during the week.  If she has dance class right after school on Mondays, and has piano at 5:30pm on Wednesdays, she will need to complete her homework at different times.
  • Help your child look at her schedule of planned activities for the week.  Discuss which time will be homework time, and try to keep to the schedule.  For the most part, children like a routine; when a child knows that there is a designated time for homework, she will be less likely to fuss about doing it.
  • Older students sometimes have larger projects or tests that they know about in advance.  Get these due dates on a calendar that is designated for your child’s schoolwork and extra-curricular activities.  Help your child determine a plan to break down the large project into smaller chunks.  Be sure she sets aside some time over several days to complete large assignments or study for tests.  This way, she won’t be quite so overwhelmed with the task.
  • Sometimes, just a simple homework sheet can also overwhelm students.  For some, just looking at a page of 40 addition problems may seem impossible.  Try folding your child’s paper in half, and ask her to complete half before taking a break or grabbing a snack.  This will make the task much more manageable in her mind.

This is the final part in the 4-part series on Homework Help for Parents.  I hope you have picked up a few good homework tricks that you can use to help your child with her homework.  Homework should be a continuation of learning for the purpose of reinforcement, not the source of conflict in a home.  Help your child set up good homework habits early on in her educational career.

If you have any homework tricks that have worked with your child, I would love to hear about them-please post a comment at the bottom of this page.  Thanks!

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