My daughter started kindergarten. In a typical night, she has penmanship, sight words, a memory verse and some reading. So far, penmanship has been the hardest for our family. Yet, even though no one in our family really loves writing practice, we are trying to make the most out of it. After all, homework is supposed to teach discipline and support what is being taught in class. As a credentialed teacher, I don’t believe you should just go through the motions. Here are some tips on how to help your child get the most out of homework.
The Right Time and Place
Starting a predictable homework schedule can be helpful for your child. A desk with plenty of writing tools or a computer and good lighting are musts. You might also want to have a place to display your child’s best work or an inspirational poster.
Make Sure Your Child Understands
I remember having students that would just fake their schoolwork and homework. To me, that is the same as not doing it at all because the student didn’t benefit from the homework. Thus, in order to prevent children from “faking it” make sure they understand. For younger kids, you might want to read the directions together or do a sample math problem together.
Don’t Wait Until the Last Second
When my daughter comes home from school, I let her have a snack and relax for a bit. Then, I have her do at least half of her homework. While we sometimes do some reading before bed, we never wait until the last minute to start homework. This can push back a child’s bedtime and I think bedtime should be a period of winding down.
Take a Break if Your Child Needs It
When kids get into junior high, they are likely to have over an hour of homework. Some high school students have several hours (even though I don’t think they should). If your child needs a break, they should take one. Having dinner with the family, getting some exercise or simply playing are all good ideas. I sometimes let my daugher watch a television program during her homework break. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy, right? Just make sure your child understand that they get ____ minutes of breaktime before going back to the homework.
Get Outside Help If You Need It
Sometimes children respond better to a tutor or friend. I used to help my friends with homework in junior high and high school all the time. When I was in college, I tutored a neighbor’s child and he jumped from an F to a C in about a month.
Monitor but Don’t Do the Homework for your Child
It can be frustrating to watch your child struggle with homework. However, it’s important not to do it for them. It’s fine to answer questions and help with a problem or vocabulary questions. However, don’t do the work for them. It’s likely the teacher will notice too!
Talk to the Teacher if Necessary
If your think your child doesn’t have enough or too much homework, talk to your child’s teacher. Hopefully, they will be reasonable to make some modifications. If you are unhappy with your school’s homework policy, there are some schools that have project-based homework or less homework than other schools. According to smithsonian.com, some educators support the “ten-minute homework rule, which recommends adding ten daily minutes of homework per grade beginning in first grade, up to a maximum of two hours.”
Make it Fun
Making learning fun is always a good idea. If your child is learning about fractions, make a pizza together and put different toppings on different fractions of it. After reading a book, you can watch a movie based on the novel.
Take Advantage of Study Aids
There are a lot of applications out there to support your child during homework time. I like Quizlet a lot. You can input your child’s sight words or definitions onto the app. It reduces a lot of bulky index cards too. I also found a handwriting app that is very fun for my daughter.
Do Some Homework Too
It can be hard for a child to do homework while you are watching television or making a lot of noise. For this reason, this might be a good time for mom and dad to read, write or even pay bills.
More from Melissa:
Should Schools Teach Cursive or Will it Be a Lost Art?
From Public to Private School: Five Reasons We Switched
Teacher Turnover: Why Do Educators Leave?