Children are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in their homework — it shows children that what they do is important.
Homework shouldn’t mean spending hours at a desk. Parents can be supportive by demonstrating study and organisation skills, or explaining a tricky problem.
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, scissors — within reach.
- Schedule a regular study time. Some children work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
- Keep distractions to a minimum. This means no TV, loud music, or phone calls.
- 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 working out a problem or reading a book? Children are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than their advice.
- Praise their work and efforts. Post a test or 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. Some chidren have trouble seeing the board and may need glasses; others might need an evaluation for a learning problem or attention disorder.