Monday, August 31, 2015

Happy Homework!

Homework happiness - is it possible?   Over years parents have asked me many questions about their children's homework.  They want to know if they should help with homework and if so, how much.  They want to know what to do when their child won't or can't do the homework. Sometimes, parents want to know what to do when they don't know how to help their children.  All parents want to support their children to develop good homework habits and become independent with their homework.  

Remember, the purpose of homework is to provide your child with additional learning and practice opportunities.  For this to happen, it must be the child who does the thinking and the work. When children to do the thinking and the work, they benefit from their effort which builds confidence, perseverance and independence.  Here are a few ideas to keep in mind with assisting your children with homework:                                   

  1. Hold your child accountable for knowing what the homework is and bringing it home. If your children "forget" a homework assignment, don't rescue them from the consequences at school.  Instead, say, "Hmm...I sorry that happened.  I bet it will be difficult trying to explain this to your teacher tomorrow.  Don't worry though.  I'm sure your teacher will figure out a way for you to get the work done."  Then leave your child to ponder the situation.  In the long run, this will help your child grow in responsibility and independence.
  2. Make sure you have allowed your child to have dinner or a snack prior to homework time.
  3. Some students need to engage in active play before settling down to their homework, and some want to get it done first to have the rest of the evening free.  
  4. Set up an appropriate time and space for homework completion.  Make the area comfortable and remove distractions like TV noise, electronic devices and other toys.  
  5. Help your child get organized and ready to work by assisting them with a plan for getting started.  Ask your child to determine the order in which the homework tasks will be done.  Keep this short and positive.  Drop a final reminder about what they can do after the homework is completed correctly.  
  6. 6.  Refuse to get over involved when your children say they don't understand the work or don't know what to do.  Gently suggest that they use their books for help or recall what the teacher said in class.  If you have a slow starter, if might be helpful to do one problem or question with your child, but resist the temptation to do more than that. Remember the homework is only helpful if your child does it by thinking, recalling and working through the challenge.  
  7. If homework becomes a daily battle that is negative in tone and causes lots of conflict, contact your child's teacher to create a plan that will help your child become more independent and responsible with homework.  Plans that work best are plans where the teacher, parent and student are working together to overcome unsuccessful homework behaviors. 
  8. Don't forget to smile and praise your child's effort and work when it is done.  

Take a look at this website for more ideas about helping with homework.    http://kidshealth.org/parent/positive/learning/homework.html

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