Well, here we go again…homework! It was a struggle when I was a child and it is a struggle with my own children. The purpose of homework is to reinforce what was taught in class. Teachers assign different kinds of homework from fill-in the blank worksheets to long term projects. Believe it or not, there are some benefits to homework! The more elaborate projects can provide a rich link to the subject matter and engage children in topics more in depth than teachers have time to dedicate during class. Teachers use homework as an assessment tool. For example, if a student has difficulty taking tests a homework project can demonstrate a student knowledge of the content. Homework communicates to the teachers that their instructional methods are working with your child (or not!). It tells the teacher if she needs to go back and review material before moving onto another lesson. Parents need to support their child by providing space, supplies and help when necessary. This is a great time to help you clarify an assignment, read questions aloud to your child or even buddy read to enhance comprehension skills.
Here are some strategies to help ease the burden of homework:
- Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework. This should be a “homework only” spot such as a desk in your child’s room.
Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.
- Make sure all the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils, eraser and crayons are available and accessible.
Ask your child if special materials will be needed for some projects and get them in advance.
- Help your child with time management.
Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Each child is different: some like to knock it out when they get home and other children prefer some down time before hitting the books.
- When your child asks for help provide guidance, but not the answers. Use strategies such as reading the question aloud or use manipulatives to help solve math problems. These are great ways to help without giving your child the answers.
- Get up and move breaks are okay and necessary! Most children can sit and attend to an activity for 20-30 minutes without a break, but if you notice your child is struggling ask them if they need to get up and get some water or stretch their legs.
- Help your child figure out what is “hard” homework and what is “easy” homework.
Have your child do the hard work first so he will be most alert when facing the bigger challenges. Easy material can go fast when he gets tired.
- Tell your child’s teacher if the work is too difficult. This will give her a chance to be able to go back and review the material.
- Check your child’s homework. Not so you can correct the answers, but so you can be aware of what they are working on, where they may be struggling and what their
- Ultimately, homework is your child’s responsibility. Resist the temptation of always sitting next to your child and helping with each problem. Leave the room and let them attempt to do it on their own even if they make a mistake. They are also responsible for putting the homework back in his/her backpack.
If homework continues to be a battle consider a getting a tutor. Our experienced teachers will take the opportunity to practice and reinforce skills taught in the classroom, teach extension, study skills, test taking techniques, involve parents through weekly feedback, and build confidence toward school and learning. For more information on our services, please contact us at 804-447-4095.