A Parents Guide to Helping with Children’s Homework

You thought when you finished school you were done with homework. And you were… until you had kids. Now they are going to school, and having to do homework every night, and for some reason this means you are doing homework every night. Your brain may be rusted from non use (like mine was) and I found myself struggling a little bit to give my kids what they needed.

Help your child study with these simple homework guidelines, photo by chefranden

Help your child study with these simple homework guidelines, photo by chefranden

But helping your kids with homework should be easy, or at the very least not hard. To streamline things and make it easier to handle, follow these guidelines:

Don’t do the homework for them. This is the biggest rule of them all. If you do their homework once, they will keep coming back to you again and again. They will have to, since they didn’t learn it the first time. Even if they get questions wrong, its best to let them do the homework as best they can. Help them, yes, but do not do the homework for them.

Let the teacher know if your child is struggling. While you can’t do the homework for them, you can always talk to the teacher if they are having a particularly hard time. This will help the teacher help your child.

Be consistent. Pick a time and a place for homework, and make sure you stick to it. “Same Bat time, same Bat channel” as the old tv show used to say. If the child develops a pattern of working on their school work at the same time, in the same place every day, eventually it will turn into a habit. And these are the type of habits you want to encourage.

Give them what they need, remove what they don’t. Now that you have a daily time and place for homework, perfect that place – remove any distractions, turn off movies, television, music, or anything else. Don’t stick them by an open window facing a playground. Clear the siblings out of the room. Make it peaceful and quiet so they can focus. And make sure they have any resources they need (paper, pencil sharpener, calculator, whatever books they need).

Set an example. Word to the wise – even if they can’t see the screen, you sitting next to them and playing Angry Birds on your phone counts as a distraction. You need to set an example, so as they do their homework sit with them and read a book, write, or a do a crossword puzzle. They want to be like you, so if you respect the study time, they will too.

Check over the homework. When they finish, look it over. Make sure its signed and all the problems are completed. If they have made a mistake, and you can help, then go over it with them.

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