It can be a challenge as a parent to decide how much to help your child with homework assignments. Ignoring homework and expecting your child to be responsible on his or her own often demands more responsibility than a small child can handle. However, it’s easy to end up doing too much for a child, limiting their ability to develop skills and personal focus.
The best place to start when deciding your role with your child’s homework is with the teacher. Every educator has a different perspective on homework and parent involvement. Speak directly with the teacher about his or her expectations and goals. This allows you to support the teacher’s efforts and your child’s learning. Here are a few general suggestions:
Set a schedule for homework: After a short break and snack, homework should happen if possible before dinner or early in the evening. Delay – a common tactic – just makes the process harder as bedtime grows closer. It’s also a good lesson to focus on work before play. Have them complete homework from hardest – while they’re fresh – to easiest.
Do your homework too: If you read, balance your bank account or pay bills while your children work on their homework, it helps them to see that even grownups have responsibilities. It’s also hard for a child to do homework when parents or siblings are having fun. Use homework time as an opportunity for the whole family to complete projects.
Keep it quiet: No television or loud music, even if your teen says he or she can study better with it. Find some soft instrumentals, recordings of nature noises or mellow classical pieces to provide a relaxing background if you like.
Provide guidance, not answers: The goal of homework is practice on what was taught in class or to give the opportunity to apply learning to new problems. Ask questions and go through the textbook and instructions with your child. This is more time-consuming, but you’re helping your child learn to think, as well as teaching that you won’t supply answers, just support.
Homework can be challenging but it can also be rewarding. Encouraging your child or children can help them discover the pleasure of solving problems on their own and finding answers without help, skills that will serve them well as they grow.