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Tips for Helping Your Child with Homework

By Lisa Pecos

All parents want to see their children succeed in school, and studies have shown that kids whose parents are more involved in their educations are more likely to do well. Thus, helping your child with his or her homework should be a no-brainer, but it is not always so simple. In the early years, things are relatively easy because young kids have very little homework and what homework they have is simple. But as children get older, the homework becomes more time-consuming, and they eventually cover subjects with which we, as parents, may not be confident. Confronted with calculus, for instance, most parents cannot be blamed for being a little intimidated.

Yet whatever age your child may be, there are certainly ways you can help, even if you are not fluent with some of the subjects your child is covering. Here are several ways in which every parent can be involved.

1. Enforce a homework time and space. Establish a set time during the day in which your child must do school-related activities. Anywhere from one to two hours will be enough, though more is sometimes necessary at certain times of the year. Meanwhile, make sure the homework time takes place in a space that is free of distractions, including gadgets, TVs, and games. If a computer is necessary, use one that does not have an internet connection or stay in the room so your child cannot surf the web or play games.

Your child may claim there is not enough homework to fill the full homework time. Even when this is true, there is no reason to cancel homework time. Just turn it into school-focused reading time.

2. Keep a daily homework log. Every day when your child comes home from school, urge him or her to make a list of the day’s homework tasks. Even better, have them keep a notebook in which they can write all their assignments as they receive them throughout the school day. This will give you a clear sense of how much homework your child has and make it easier to plan homework time.

3. Check the work. Make a habit of checking all the schoolwork your child does, and give feedback whenever necessary. Remember, however, that it is never a good idea to do your child’s homework for them. Instead, when you find something wrong in the homework or when the work shows poor effort, turn it into a teaching moment.

4. Get involved with the school and teachers. It helps if you are able to meet and talk with all your child’s teachers. This gives you the chance to find out what they expect and what specifically you can do to make their jobs easier. And beyond merely talking to teachers, it is always a good idea to be involved in school events and parent-teacher organizations. This is just one part of the big picture, but it helps keep you aware of what is going on in your child’s education.

5. Make sure your child succeeds. If your child consistently has trouble with homework and you feel as if you are in over your head, seek the help of an outside professional. There are plenty of subject-specific tutors as well as general tutors who can help your child learn good study habits.

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