Homework, homework… that may be a big topic in your household right about now. Homework is necessary for students to practice skills and reinforce concepts. It also helps students build organizational skills and develop effective study skills. Your child should be able to complete all homework independently. If that is not the case, please contact your child’s teacher right away. Here are some tried and true tips that may help homework time run a little smoother:
- Help your child create a homework space. Whether your child completes homework in his/her room or at the kitchen table, make sure your child has a distraction-free designated work space equipped with pens, pencils, paper, a calculator, etc. Some students work better with some background noise like music, but some need quiet. Remove stimulation like phones, iPads, TVs, or computers. Sometimes it is necessary to put these items in a completely different room to eliminate the temptation. It may be asking the impossible to expect a child to ignore the very familiar “ding” of a notification.
- Establish a set time for homework. Your student may need to unwind and have a snack or watch a show before beginning homework. Perhaps your child likes to get homework over with as soon as he/she walks in the door. Find out what works for your child, then set the same routine every day. Use a calendar or the school planner to schedule after-school activities, so you can adjust the start time of homework for that day. Ask your child for input so they have ownership over when to begin homework rather than being told when to begin homework each day.
- Encourage independence. Homework should be practiced and reinforcement. It does not need to be perfect. Resist the urge to correct their homework. They will learn more if they bring the imperfect assignment back to school. This tells the teacher the skill needs to be reinforced, and it also allows your child to learn from doing.
- Teach, don’t tell. If your child has a question about homework, do not tell them the correct answer. Try to help by providing tools for your child to find the right answer on his/her own. There is an old proverb attributed to Benjamin Franklin that says, “Tell me and I’ll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I’ll understand”.
- Build time management skills. Help your child prioritize their homework assignments and decide what to begin first. Younger students need help estimating how long an assignment may take. Encourage your child to make a list of the order in which to complete each task. Teach your child to create a list and check off assignments as they are completed and returned to their folder to go back to school. Include break times in your child’s homework schedule. A timer can be helpful to keep your child on task for a short period of time. You can gradually increase the time to encourage longer periods of focus and concentration.
- Partner with your child’s teacher. If your student struggles to complete homework, reach out to the teacher immediately. If your child is spending an unreasonable amount of time on homework or getting frustrated, discontinue for the evening and notify the teacher. Every student at PHPS is taught grade-level appropriate homework and study skills. Contact your child’s teacher if you have any questions about the study skills and organizational system used in your student’s grade level. Encourage your child to follow through with the system at home.
If you help your student establish a routine now, these practices will become habits later. Homework may never be fun, but instead of an insurmountable job, it will just be a manageable daily task.