Whether you are an advocate of homework or not, the fact remains that, if you have children who are students, they probably have homework most every school night. The idea behind homework is to garner a sense of responsibility through purposeful practice. As a teacher, I found homework to be one of parents’ greatest frustrations. A mother would discover that her son hadn’t been turning in work. One of two famous retorts generally followed: “He told me he’s been doing his homework”…or…”He says he doesn’t have any homework.” I offered them these suggestions. If your child is having “homework issues”, perhaps this information will help you too.
Guide Your Child Toward a Sense of Responsibility
Daily planners and calendars help us all to stay on track. Just because we adults find these tools easy to use, doesn’t mean children do. Teach your child to record his/her homework assignments in a daily planning book. Many schools require this; however, parents need to monitor. Check it each evening. When he’s completed the assignment, teach him to highlight or cross it off in the planner (it always feels good to ‘chalk up’ an accomplishment.) You may need to take it one step further and have his teacher/s initial the homework assignments. This ensures he’s written correct information. This method will not work unless you are consistent in asking to see the planner every day. A parent of one of my middle school students would make him walk back to school if he “forgot” his daily planner. Provide both positive and negative consequences.
Be Present When Your Son/Daughter Does Homework
If your child is having trouble completing homework, it’s important that you’re in close proximity during her homework time. View this as an opportunity to help her develop responsible patterns that will transition into habits. This procedure takes tenacity. Just the simple act of putting the completed homework into the correct spot in a binder sometimes takes lots of practice and guidance.
Ask to See Your Child’s Homework
Don’t just take your son/daughter’s word for it that homework has been completed. Ask to actually see the finished product. If it’s shoddy work, don’t be afraid to make him/her redo it. If your child realizes he can’t get away with a sloppy effort, he’ll soon realize it’s easier to do it right the first time.
Follow a Set Schedule
Figure out what will work in your household. Is your child the type who needs to play outside for a while before studying? You know her best. Decide on a set minimum time-frame for homework. As a general rule, that would be about 10 minutes per grade level. A 3rd grader would spend 30 minutes, and a 5th grader would dedicate 50 minutes to homework. That consists of concentrated effort-not ‘fooling around’ time. Let your child know upfront that she’ll be spending the entire amount of designated minutes on schoolwork. That may help her to avoid rushing through it. If you feel that your son or daughter spends in inordinate amount of time on homework, talk to the teacher. It’s possible that accommodations need to be made.
Have Your Own ‘Homework Assignments’ on Hand
If your child says he’s done with homework, spend the extra time working on weak areas. If he’s not grasping fractions very well, for example, print out some worksheets on that topic. Have them ready ahead of time, so as not to waste time. Sites such as Super Kids, Worksheets 4 Teachers, and TLS Books provide plenty of concept practice sheets. If he knows you’re going to provide extra work anyway, he’ll be more inclined to work on what’s actually due in class the next day.
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