Many students try to avoid it, but teaching and learning research indicates that children who spend more time on regularly assigned, meaningful homework, on average, do better in school.
This article answers questions many people have about homework. It gives specific advice for helping your children. Here are some quick hints to help your child get the most out of homework.
- Assume that your children will have studying to do every night.
- Ask your children if they understand their homework. If they do not, work a few examples together.
- Ask your children to show you their homework after the teacher returns it, to learn where they’re having
trouble and where they’re doing well. See if your children did the work correctly.
- Stay in touch with your children’s teachers. Ask about their classes and what they are studying. Ask
their teachers how you can support what they are studying (flash cards, spelling, etc.).
- Remember, you and their teachers want the same thingto help your children learn.
- Don’t be afraid to get in touch with the teacher if you and your child don’t understand an assignment
or if your child is having a great deal of trouble. Almost all parents run into these problems, and
teachers are glad to help.
- Don’t do your children’s work for them. Help them learn how to do it themselves.
- Show your children that you think homework is important. If you are at work during homework time,
ask to see their work when you get home.
- Praise your children for doing well. Make praise a habit.
- Maintain a portfolio of “best pieces.”
- Ask your school about tips or guides for helping your children develop good study habits.
- Help older students organize their assignments by recording them on calendars or planners, along
with due dates, dates turned in, etc.
We often get on guard when it comes to our child’s welfare in school. Often than not, we expect the best and the teacher to know all. Let’s review ourselves as parents.
A successful school year begins with teamwork — between you, your child and your child’s teachers. As your child heads back to school, consider these suggestions for building a positive, collaborative relationship with his teachers:
- Treat the teacher as an expert. Be positive in your attitude and approach, making it a habit to contact the teacher under positive circumstances. Showing up only when you want to discuss a problem can push a teacher into defensive mode as soon as you walk through the door.
- When discussing your child, start many of your questions with, “What can I do? . . .” Let the teacher know you and your child are taking responsibility for learning.
- Recognize that there are practical limitations on what the teacher can do. If your child needs to follow a certain system for keeping track of homework, create the paperwork yourself so that the teacher needs to only fill in a few blanks.
- Don’t rely solely on the information you get from your child about a particular incident. Naturally, your personal loyalty rests with your child, but do your best to look at the situation objectively and see it through the eyes of the teacher.
- Discuss the conversations you have with the teacher openly with your child. Emphasize the positive areas that you and the teacher discussed, and brainstorm how to use those strengths to improve in other areas.
- Help your child understand and value a variety of teaching methods. Every teacher is a lesson in learning. By helping your child appreciate the unique styles of different teachers, you’ll prepare him to use his strengths to cope with life’s many other differences.