By: Carolina Pichardo
Your child’s academic success is closely aligned with how they take to their schoolwork and to their homework assignments. Are they organized with their work and project deadlines? Do they struggle or get frustrated with a specific homework subject? Whether they appreciate it or not, homework – when approached correctly – does reinforce classwork and subject matter learning, and also helps foster a sense of responsibility and integrity in work outcomes. You—as the parent—can make sure they’re able to get all these benefits and more.
Know What Teachers Expect
Getting an idea of how a teacher assigns work, and how often, will help you understand and manage your child’s workload. Do they have weekend homework or monthly assignments? Are assignments written out in class or posted online? How often are they tested? Meet with teachers if necessary, and get your child’s input as well.
Create a Homework Space
There is a space for everything – foodstuffs, clothes, the television – so why not have one for your child’s work? Speak with your child on where she would like their space to be, and how she would like it decorated. If you have room for a small desk, add a nice bulletin board to pin future assignments and top grades. But you can just as readily make sure to clear your kitchen table for homework time at the same time every day so that it is clear that this activity is an important part of the day. Make it comfortable also, a space with little to no distractions, so they’re able to enjoy being there after a long school day. This is about creating a dedicated space for focus and concentration.
Give Them the Right Materials
Prepare a small kit that holds the essentials for homework and have it at the ready for homework. Include the basics for your child’s grade: pencils (or pens, if they’re older), pencil case, sharpener, ruler, scrap paper, dictionary and calculator. Make sure these items, however, are kept together and remain in the homework area so that they are not scattered about or lost.
Mind Their Time
If your child has multiple homework assignments, ask them about the subject matter, and how long they estimate each one will take to complete. This gives you an overview of what your child might be excelling in or might have difficulty with. If your child is spending two hours to complete their math homework, then it might be time to step in and talk to her teacher to see how to best support her work. Also, don’t let them leave it for the last minute. Encourage them to always complete their homework as soon as possible upon arrival from school or after-school.
Depending on your child’s age, you can speak with other parents about creating small homework groups or encourage your child to team up with other classmates. This will help if they’re ever stuck with a question or project, and just need direction on how to get it done. Just make certain to check in with your child’s teachers first on his or her policies, and on what assignments can be completed in tandem and which should not be.
Keep Them Motivated
The most important thing you can do to support your child is to continue to motivate her. Constantly praise her efforts, check her work and encourage questions. Should you observe specific struggles, and help identify pitfalls. Does she need more time? Is homework being tackled when the television is on? Is the assignment not fully explained? Together, work to find a solution.
Less warfare, more homework.