Did you get your homework done? That’s a question heard in many homes as parents and kids settle in for the evening. Part of the anxiety for kids at the beginning of each school year is adjusting to homework expectations. There can be a big difference from year to year in terms of quantity and difficulty.
Research shows that effective homework assignments do more than supplement the classroom lesson. They also teach children to be independent learners. Homework gives children experience in following directions, making judgments, raising additional questions for study, and developing responsibility and self-discipline.
Okay, that all sounds positive. But as a parent the question becomes how involved do you get in helping with homework. Following are my thoughts on the “what and how.”
- Give praise for things your child does well in school. Look at the pictures, ask how the spelling test went, read the essay. Know what is being studied.
- Discuss school with your child, both positive and negative. When there is a problem at school it is hard for most children to figure out what they can do to deal with it. They need your help.
- Meet with teachers – face-to-face, phone, electronically. Have a conversation at the beginning of the school year about homework expectations.
- Have a special place for homework where there aren’t distractions. Select a place that you can easily monitor. If the homework is done on the computer, check to be sure your child is doing homework and not chatting with Facebook friends or playing games.
- Set clear rules about when homework is to be done. Evenings can be hectic with supper, music and dance lessons, sports practices and games, church activities, etc. Sit down as a family and decide where homework fits in.
- Give consequences if homework is not done. Most children will not change habits unless there is a consequence for poor behavior or not following the rules.
- Stay calm when there is a school problem. Your child’s teacher will have information about what aspects of his work are creating a problem. Then you can work towards a solution.
Your child is going to be in school for many years. Even though she may not have lots of homework right now, you are setting the stage for how this part of her school experience will go. If you can help her develop good study habits now, the payoff will be substantial in the years ahead.
What specific things are you doing to help your child be successful in school?