An Overview of Homework
Homework can be difficult for families. Many kids don’t like it and many parents are challenged by how to help.
▪Homework is beneficial to students, as it reinforces lessons learned at school.
▪Homework should be a review of school work, not an introduction of new material.
▪Homework helps children to learn responsibility, time management, and confidence.
▪Homework needs to be completed first. Then your child can watch TV, call a friend, or play a video game.
Toddlers and Homework
No, toddlers do not yet have homework but they certainly can disrupt their older siblings who do!
▪While your kids are doing their homework, toddlers can be occupied with a simple art project, a quiet game, stories, or even a quiet DVD. Your school age kids will be distracted by a toddler who is running around, crying, or grabbing at papers and books.
▪Your toddler does not have to be perfectly quiet (no classroom is perfectly quiet), but we can begin teaching toddlers that “homework time is quiet time”. Not only will your older kids benefit, but when your toddler becomes a kid with homework, some lessons will have already been taught.
Kids and Homework
There are three important steps to supporting your kids’ success with their homework:
▪Homework Station: Choose a spot in your home where your kids will do their homework every night. This is the same spot where your children should put their backpack when they get home from school. Having a set spot reduces the amount of time spent every night debating where homework will be done.
▪Homework Kit: Find a small box or tote and fill it with school tools, such as pencils, pens, sharpener, scissors, eraser, crayons, paper and any other items that your kids need to complete their homework. Keep this kit in your child’s homework station. This reduces the amount of time spent every night first looking for a pencil…and then a sharpener…and then an eraser.
▪Homework Time: Choose a time daily that your child will do their homework. The time will vary for each child on each day, and will be based on other activities such as sports and music lessons, but should be planned in advance. Consistency is important! This reduces the amount of time spent every night debating when homework will be started.
Teens and Homework
Computers should be kept in public places, not in a teen’s bedroom. It is not possible to monitor your teen’s computer activities from behind a closed door. It is appropriate to supervise your teen’s homework and grades, but as they get older, our supervision needs to be reduced. Teens need to handle their schoolwork well because they are motivated to do so – not because we demand it. You are not going to college with them, so really begin backing off, especially the last two years of high school.
Some valuable things to tell your teens:
▪We will allow you to handle your schoolwork on your own as long as things are going well. If your grades drop, or we get calls from teachers, then we need to get more involved.
▪We expect you to complete your homework before checking Facebook, going on You-Tube, or chatting with friends.
▪The expectation is that you will do your best. We expect no grade lower then a __ (fill in the blank with reasonable expectations).
▪You need to turn off both your computer and your cell phone at least 30 minutes before bed. (Collect them both from your teen if you do not trust them to keep them off at bedtime.)
▪We love you, we support you, and we will help if we can. But we cannot force you to do your best, and so will allow you to experience the negative consequences if you make bad choices about your homework.
Homework Assistance at Every Age
Remember that it is your kid’s assignment, not yours. You already went to school – now it’s their turn.
▪Offer support to get your child started on their assignments. Sit with younger children while they do the first problem, and then walk away. With older children, review each assignment with them, make sure they know what is expected, and then walk away.
▪Allow your child to achieve their own success, and to experience their own failure.
▪Expect your child to do their best, not to be perfect.
▪Be willing to help your kids when they request it, but do not allow them to be rude to you. Tell your kids, “I will help you, but if you are rude, I will walk away.” And then follow through!
▪Focusing mainly on grades encourages your child to cheat, or at least to accept cheating as acceptable and normal. Focus on learning, not on grades.