Students are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework – it shows students that what they do is important.
Of course, helping with homework shouldn’t mean spending hours hunched over a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organization skills, explaining a tricky problem or just encouraging kids to take a break. And who knows, you might even learn a thing or two!
Dr. Levin, Ph.D. (Professor of Education, Wheelock College) states that:
“One of the best ways to help children become independent and responsible learners is to encourage them to take ownership over their work.”
Here are some tips to guide the way:
- Know the teachers – and what they’re looking for. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher meetings, to meet your child’s teachers. Ask about their homework policies and how you should be involved.
- Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure children have a well-lit place to complete homework. Keep supplies – paper, pencils, glue, and scissors – within reach.
- Schedule a regular study time. Some children work best in the afternoon, following a snack and rest period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
- Help them make a plan. On heavy homework nights or when there’s an especially hefty assignment to tackle, encourage your child break up the work into manageable chunks. Create a work schedule for the night if necessary – and take time for a 15-minute break every hour, if possible.
- Keep distraction to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment can be helpful.)
- Make sure children do their own work. They won’t learn if they don’t think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it’s a child’s job to do the learning.
- Be a motivator and monitor. Ask about assignments, quizzes and tests. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns.
- Set a good example. Do your children ever see you diligently balancing your budget or reading a book? Children are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than your advice.
- Praise their work and efforts. Post a good result from a test or any art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives.
- If there are continuing problems with homework, get help. Talk about it with your child’s teacher. Get their advice on how you can most effectively help your child at home and any extra support they can provide.
Gratitude to the teachers from West Hatch High School, Essex.