This school year, your children’s homework may be challenging for everyone. Discover which methods are best for helping them learn how to study and complete assignments.
“What’s the answer?” may be the question your child expects you to resolve. But handing over the answers will not help in the long run. Doing their homework for them will not earn them the top grades they’re seeking, even if it is tempting and seems easier.
The point of homework is to reinforce classroom material, add information, improve study habits and test knowledge. Your job is to ensure your children meet these goals in order to improve their grades and retain the knowledge. It’s the reason for education.
The following methods of assisting with homework are beneficial for developing long-lasting skills.
1. Stick with a schedule
Schedule specific times for homework—whether after school or after dinner, it should be free from television viewing, video games, texting or other social functions, even if they prefer to multitask. It’s proven that they aren’t as focused. Stick consistently with the same time and be flexible with other activities.
2. Pick a location
Whether at a desk in their room, the dining room or kitchen table, with siblings or alone, find out which space has the least distractions and is most conducive to productivity. Some kids prefer sound in the background in order to focus, but keep television, phone, internet (except for research) and other tech stuff off-limits.
3. Help them find the answer
“Look it up, you’ll remember it longer,” is a wise remark passed on over generations. Don’t do homework for your child just because you know how. Do one problem together and let them do the rest on their own. This helps them learn and problem solve, a critical skill to acquire. Show interest and be available. This improves a student’s performance.
4. Review work
Follow up to see how your child scored on an assignment and look over mistakes. Mistakes are opportunities for discussion to see if they understand the material. Suggest tips for remembering facts, use flash cards to review material or review concepts. An interactive way of learning is effective, perhaps with an older sibling or fellow student.
5. Meet with teachers
Parent involvement shows teachers that there’s a supportive environment at home that gives a student an advantage in the learning process. If your child lags behind, show concern and teachers will have suggestions to encourage your child and perhaps recommend supplemental studies with a tutor in a subject. Maybe other students don’t understand a lesson either, and the teacher needs to know a method needs reinforcement.
6. When you don’t know the answer
Ask questions. Your child’s homework is also an opportunity for you to learn. Do some research to find out the answers even though you won’t hand them over. Like a reference librarian, be a valuable resource to show kids how to research answers. Be sensitive to their needs. How do your child learn—are they a visual or audial type—by seeing or hearing or both?
7. Make a plan
Get an assignment schedule calendar. When the workload increases and kids are juggling various assignments, your support with timemanagement skills will offer valuable guidance in working through difficult tasks and completing homework. Find out about long-term projects in order to schedule and develop a work plan and get necessary supplies to avoid a last-minute rush to finish.
8. Offer incentives
Motivate children and show them how to prioritize their workload, such as studying for tests. If they receive good scores and maintain grade averages, give them certain privileges.
9. Set an example
Read books. Discuss ideas. Go to a science museum together. Augment their studies with relevant information, such as word and math games. Your actions speak volumes when advice may be ignored.
10. Offer praise
Show off work well done—a test with a high grade, an art or science project. Encourage your kids. If you show you believe in them, it builds confidence. Complimenting children gives them a sense of pride in their academic accomplishments.