Friday, September 28, 2012

7 Tips for Helping Your Child with Homework




By Marni McNiff

With Back-to-School in full force, so begins the struggle of completing homework. Whether it’s time management, concentration issues, or just lack of interest, many kids struggle at the end of their school day to get homework done in a timely and stress-free fashion.

Below you’ll find some helpful tips to help your children complete homework with minimum stress for everyone. 

Give Your Child a Break. It’s not easy for kids to spend eight hours in school and then be expected to come home and immediately begin homework assignments and studying. It’s a good idea to let your child unwind or do something physical to release some of the pent up energy they have after sitting at a desk all day. The physical activity will also help your child better prepare to focus on their homework.

Time Management. Parents should set aside a specific time each day for homework. Most children work well with a consistent schedule. It’s also important for your child to have a quiet place, away from the distraction of television and other electronics to complete their assignments. If your child is taking an unreasonable amount of time to complete an assignment, it’s best to let the teacher know. Most teachers (of young children) aren’t assigning hours of homework each night.

Keep the School Supplies Handy. Knowing where the pencils, erasers, rulers, and calculators are can minimize the stress of getting homework done. If your children are anything like mine, they’ll leave the room to get a pencil and come back 20 minutes later without one in hand. I keep a basket of homework supplies in my cabinet with everything handy. 

Provide Guidance, Not Answers. It may be shocking to know that your child’s teacher is not interested on how well you understand line segments and polygons. Homework should be done by your child. It’s important to let your child try to finish the homework on their own. You can provide help as needed, but if your child truly isn’t understanding the material, it’s best to let his or her teacher know.  Encourage your child to divide their homework into categories like: What I can do myself; and What I need help with.

Be Aware of the Assignments. Rather than waiting until the night before a project is due to begin working on it, it’s best to stay on top of everything that is assigned. Save some of the larger project work for the weekends so as not to pressure your child to complete everything after a long day of school. It also helps to keep track of when your child has a test coming up so you can break down studying into smaller segments. Most young kids aren’t pulling all-nighters to study for a math or science test, but it’s always better to go over the information a bit at a time, rather than cramming the night before an exam.

Use Praise. Don’t forget to praise your child for their hard work. As the mother of three children, one of whom has a learning disability, I can’t stress enough the importance of positive feedback and praise. When I go over my son’s completed homework with him, I always begin with everything he did right. When I get to a place where he has an incorrect answer, I try and make it a fun problem to solve. Pointing out a child’s errors over and over can make the child feel insecure in that subject area.

Take an Active Interest. It’s a fact that children do better in school if parents take an active interest in their work. Show your child that you are interested by being available and attentive while they are completing their assignments.

The most important advice I can give is to maintain open communication with your child’s teacher. If assignments are taking longer than expected to complete, or if your child doesn’t understand the main concepts of an assignment, it’s time to call or email the teacher. Not only will your child’s teacher have a better understanding of how your child is learning, but they may also be able to provide some tips to help you during homework time.





2 comments:

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