Homework can be a difficult time for your child for many reasons. They may be struggling in school and not understand concepts, they may not be motivated, they may not have the focus to sit for extended periods of time, or time may not be available at home due to home life schedules. To make homework a bit more manageable, you may find some of these tips useful to your needs.

Establish a special place at home for completing homework.
A special place may be the kitchen table or bar, a desk in the den, a desk in their bedroom, or even the family room floor. This place should be quiet and comfortable for your child. It should not have the distractions of the radio, TV, games, toys, or other people. Make use of the public library. It is a quiet place to work on homework once a week and then check out a book as a reward for accomplishing a homework goal.

Establish a time.
You may not need to set a time in stone however, giving your child a countdown may help them get ready (mentally and physically) for homework time. By giving them a 15-minute countdown before homework time allows your child to finish their current task and prepare for homework time.

Get ready routine.
Before starting homework, your child may need to use the bathroom, change into comfy clothes, get a glass of water, or eat a snack. Also, get homework papers and books from the backpack to be ready to start. Once your child sits down to complete homework, they should not need to get up to do or get something. This may help make homework time more efficient.

Have the necessary supplies on hand.
Create a "Homework Box" to hold things your child may need to complete homework. It could contain such things as sharpened pencils, a mini pencil sharpener or have access to an electric sharpener, box of crayons, glue stick, erasers, scrap paper to solve math problems or to practice writing words, or anything else your child may need when completing his/her assignments.

Work with your child.
Your child may not (and should not) need help for every little thing on their homework. The work sent home is on grade level and is a review of what was taught/practiced in class. Your child should be able to complete it mostly independently. Directions may need to be reviewed so your child understands the task and could correctly complete it. It is a good idea to complete the first problem or start the task together then he/she can finish it independently. Check back often for correctness, completness, and neatness. Parents should not do their child's homework; it's thier work, not yours! It's OK if words are not spelled correctly 100% of the time or a letter is written backwords every now and then - it's your child's authentic work. Homework time should be time to review and practice skills taught in the classroom, not the time to criticize and upset your child. Do offer encouragement and praise.

Take a break.
Your child should work no longer than 30 minutes a day on homework. When working, your child may need to get up and stretch or quickly get away for a brief minute. As long as breaks are not too distracting or long, your child may benefit from one.

Weekly homework packets will need to be completed over the course of a few days. It is not expected, nor recommended, that all homework be completed in one sitting.

Use the internet.
Your child may benefit from practicing reading skills on-line. Visit some of the websites listed on the Homework page. These can also be used as a reward for completing homework...and your child gets a little educational time!

For more information:
http://www.ed.gov/parents/academic/help/homework/index.html


Beverly Barwick
This page was updated on September 4, 2010.
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