How parents handle helping their children with homework, can reinforce that homework is a positive value and that education is important. It can build a stronger bond between the school and the home.
Parents see firsthand what is expected of their child at specific grade levels in any academic subject and learn how their child is progressing with certain skills, specifically reading, writing, math, study skills, and overall concepts in additional content areas. Then students more readily understand their responsibility to complete homework and its role in enhancing learning.
However parent involvement may also have a negative impact. A parent needs to be patient and accepting of the child who may struggle with a concept or a skill, whose work is not as organised as one might expect, and who takes a l-o-n-g time to complete work. Parents, through no fault of their own, may tend to confuse children if they explain things in a different way than their children’s teachers do and if they use confusing vocabulary and techniques. It is important that the parent does not interfere with the tasks that the child is expected to complete on their own. It is one thing to help a child understand a question, but it is completely different if the parent does the student’s work. Homework is designed to build independent, life-long learning skills for the child so it is best to let this evolve naturally.
If you see that your child is struggling with homework, it would be helpful to talk with the teacher and outline possible strategies that you can do to help your own child. Perhaps your child needs review or further explanation, maybe he/she needs help with organisation or help in just getting started on a project.
These are proven tips to help your child be successful with homework and in school:
- Ensure your child records the assignments due and details about the work expected. This can be done simply via a notebook or even online with a technique outlined at www.showmyhomework.co.uk. For the student who sees the benefit of technology this is a convenient, efficient way to keep track of homework.
- Help your child find a quiet (away from distractions), well-lit place to do their work.
- Make sure there are adequate materials available to complete the work (pencils/pens, ruler, markers, poster board, etc.)
- Help your child organise the time it takes to do the work. Often a set time is helpful. Encouraging your child to do work earlier in the evening and to start on long-term projects well in advance of when they are do are helpful suggestions. You may want to point out ways to tackle certain assignments or discuss why it might be important to complete the easier and shorter work first. Also, encourage short breaks after completing an amount of work to sustain concentration and interest.
- Have a positive attitude towards the homework.
- Be as patient as you can be. Remember those teachers who taught you in a way that you enjoyed learning? Try to model this behaviour.
- Connect student learning to real-life application. You can read and do your paperwork as they complete their work.
- Support the teacher. If you are required to play a role in the homework (i.e. sign something, ask questions, edit a document, help study a specific skill, etc.) please do it.
- Stay informed. Attend parents evening and school events to show appreciation, support of education and to learn more about classroom expectations.
- Reward effort and progress in homework. Reinforce the positives with some activity your child enjoys: going to the movies, a bike ride or trip to the gym, having a friend sleep over on the weekend, ordering a pizza, etc.
You might want to bookmark this article. Next week, we’ll talk about how parents can help promote an interest in reading for your child.