Your child is gaining several simple skills each time she sits down to do work at home. All four will help her as she matures.
Responsibility. — The homework assignment is your child’s responsibility (not yours). When students assume responsibility for their homework and complete an assignment, it is only then that they learn to be accountable for their actions.
Time management. — Students complete their assignments or projects on time when they are organized. Turning the project in on time has it advantages because points are not deducted and your child won’t suffer consequences.
Perseverance. – Homework teaches kids how to deal with adversity. Your child can take pride in finishing an assignment regardless of difficulties or problems.
Self-esteem. — Completing homework in a timely manner will help your child develop trust and self-confidence. The inspiration to work harder on the next project occurs when kids feel good about their accomplishments.
9 How-to-Study Tips
Parents are team members on the homework front. You can create a positive atmosphere for your child by following these nine simple tips.
• Organization is a must. Get your child organized by developing a schedule for homework assignments, projects, and tests. Post all homework assignments and projects on a wall calendar (or the refrigerator, as I did) for easy viewing. Share your email address with teachers in order to stay up-to-date on important assignments, special projects, and tests. Check your school’s website regularly for homework updates. Also frequently check your child’s backpack for handouts and messages from the school.
• When your child does homework, you do homework. Show your child that the skills he is learning now are related to things you do later on as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too; if your child is doing math, balance your checkbook. In other words, work together in harmony and demonstrate as a parent how these new skills relate to adult duties and responsibilities.
• When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her. As parents, we always strive to teach honesty, integrity, and good character.
• When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher because it shows your child that the school and home are working jointly as a team, and follow the directions given by the teacher. Speak positively about your child’s school and never ever criticize the teacher or principal in front of the child.
• If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
• Stay informed. Talk with your child’s teacher weekly. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child’s class rules are. Additionally, a parent-teacher conference is an excellent time for important people in a student’s life to talk about how that student is doing in school, including conduct, grades, tests, and homework assignments. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions about the class or your child’s progress.
• Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take a short break if he is having trouble keeping his mind on an assignment, and provide plenty of positive reinforcements daily. Also, encourage your child when a task has been completed wrongly. While reprimanding him may be your first response, think carefully before acting. You’ll likely get better results if you provide love and support as you firmly, yet gently correct the issue.
• Reward progress in homework. If your child has been working hard or is successful in completing work, celebrate that success with a special event. Enjoy a pizza together, a walk, or a movie to reinforce positive effort.
• Pledge to spend quality time with your child. Yes, as parents we’re faced with financial challenges, underemployment, busy schedules, and other issues that can threaten family time. However, regardless of what you face, remember to spend some quality time with your children each day and ensure that proper “home-learning” takes place.
— Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson is a retired Memphis City Schools counselor
Looking for other homework stories? Read these:
Getting Kids to Do Homework Independently (Memphis Parent, January 2014)
Homework Help and Teacher Communication (Memphis Parent, September 2011)