How Families Can Help With Their Children’s Homework
Many families feel unsure of how to help their children with their homework. Here are some helpful hints on how to effectively help your children complete their homework.
ü Communicate with your child about school
ü Understand the homework policies
ü State your expectations to your child’s teacher
ü Realize that homework requires organization and patience
ü Develop a homework schedule
ü Set realistic goals and focus on one at a time
ü Show enthusiasm about school and homework
ü Help your child get organized by breaking down homework assignments and avoid last minute rushing in the morning to complete assignments
ü Provide a quiet/ well lit study area within your home to help eliminate distractions
ü Check with your child’s teacher about correcting homework
ü Be specific when praising your child
ü Focus on your child’s strengths in school
ü Separate your child’s weaknesses from your child, if your child fails a test that does not make he/she a failure
ü Incorporate examples, try to help your child relate school topics to everyday life
ü Build associations between what your child is learning and what your child already knows.
Never do your child’s homework!
Better Grades—You Can Help!
10 smart tips on what you can do at home to prepare your child for success.1. Create a routine – Children benefit from having structure in their lives. Children benefit from having a scheduled bedtime ritual, getting up at the same time every morning and eating a nutritious breakfast.2. Prepare for the morning the night before -Avoid morning chaos by eliminating the need for last-minute decisions. A bad morning practically ensures a difficult day at school. Accomplish as much as possible before bedtime, such as helping your child choose what clothes to wear and gathering all needed school materials for the next day.3. Help your child get organized- Organization extends beyond assembling the next day’s materials. Kids need help developing a system for storing and retrieving items so that they feel in control of their success.4. Provide a quiet place for homework, but let your child work alone. -A regular time and a good workspace to complete homework are essential, and homework should be a household priority. On the other hand, remember that the work is your child’s responsibility, not yours.5. Limit distractions- Television, computers, and video games can be huge competitors for your child’s attention, especially when it comes to homework. It is effective to limit these activities, at least on school nights.6. Encourage intellectual curiosity- Engage your child in dinner-table conversations. Share your own interests and current events.7. Allow free time. Every child needs time to unwind, so be sure that at least part of each day is free of responsibilities. In particular, do not overwhelm your child with too many afternoon activities.8. Build relationships with teachers – Ask the teacher how things are going and be open to hearing about potential problem areas your child might have.9. Focus on effort rather than grades- Show confidence in your children’s abilities but do not ask too much of them. Focus on the areas in which your child excels. Determine whether or not your child’s grades demonstrate good effort or if he/she needs to work harder in a particular area.
10. Learn how to step back-When evaluating your child’s overall performance, be careful not to let your own ambitions take over. Pressuring your child will result in making him/her feel like a failure.
Avoid Homework Power Struggles
Children often need help with their homework but can easily become defensive and frustrated at their inability to understand.
Parents want to help but can become impatient and frustrated because they do not always know how to help.
The mutual frustration and anxiety get in the way of being able to work together successfully.
To help avoid such high emotions and their resulting power struggles, parents can:
1. Arrange for extra help after school
2. Partner with other parents to “trade off” tutoring each other’s child
3. Get an older sibling or other relative to help
4. Hire a tutor
5. Let your child study with a buddy
6. Make sure the “calmer” parent in your household works with your child
7. Discuss your subject strengths and weaknesses with your spouse or partner. Then agree on who would be the best person to coach your child in which subject
Children Do Better When Parents Monitor Schoolwork
Every day, give at least five minutes of your full attention to your child’s schoolwork. Take these steps in this order:
1. Examine homework to be turned in the next day. See that handwriting is neat and has no misspellings. Check math for obvious errors.
2. Question your child as if you do not understand the homework assignment. Have your child explain it to you until you are sure she understands it.
3. Listen as your child recites spelling words and other memory work.
4. Check your child’s assignment book or folder to ensure all the homework is done.
5. Check work returned from teachers. Ask your child to redo any work with errors on it.
Throughout all of these steps, be objective, sympathetic, calm and patient. Offer help and praise to your child instead of criticism. Be sure to stress that you know your child can overcome any temporary setbacks.
Consider Your Child’s Style When Practicing Spelling
Children learn in different ways!
Some learn from seeing while others learn from touching or hearing. Figure out how your child learns best. Then apply one or more of the following strategies toward remembering spelling words:
Ø Have your child write each word five to 10 times. Do one word before moving on to the next one.
Ø Say each word and have your child write it down. After he/she spells all the words, let him/her correct his/her own paper.
Ø Write each word in large letters for your child. Have him/her trace each with a finger, saying it while tracing. Have your child keep doing this until he/she can write the word from memory.
Ø Dictate the words into a tape recorder. Pause after each word to allow your child time to write it as he/she listens to the tape. Now your child can practice again and again without your help!
Ø Have your child write his/her spelling words using a different color for each letter.
Ø Create flash cards for your child to practice reading his/her spelling words and spelling them orally to you.
Ø Have your child practice writing his/her spelling words in materials such as shaving cream or sugar.
Ø Use magnetic letters on the refrigerator for your child to arrange his/her spelling words appropriately.