How Parents Can (Successfully) Help Kids With Homework

There were two kinds of homework battles in my house (if you ask my younger sisters I think there still are). First, getting us to sit down and actually start working. Second, the frustration that set in when we were asking our parents for help and they either didn’t know the answer or we argued on the best way to do it. Parents often ask me how for tips on how to avoid homework time from devolving into huge arguments or undone assignments.

1. Know what the teacher wants.

Every teacher has a different homework policy. Some teachers ask that parents not help with homework so that they know when kids do not understand something. Others want homework to be a family activity. Make sure you are on the same page with the teacher.

2. Get clear on guidelines.

Can homework be written in both pen and pencil? How about red pen? How about crayons (in my brother’s case)? Also asking how homework should be turned in (is it supposed to be in a specific folder or signed by a parent when completed or submitted via email at a certain time) is very important and will avoid the small arguments later.

3. Have a policy with your child.

Does your child want you to ask him or her on a daily basis what the homework is? Every kid is different. For example I did not like when my parents asked me about homework. I felt it was nagging. So, we made a deal, they wouldn’t ask me and if I got low grades I had to pay the penalty. This was not the case for my brother or sister who wanted more of an active role with my parents.

4. Brainstorming is great, taking over is not.

I know some school projects look really cool, and you type a lot faster than your child. But it is really important to let them down the work. I think brainstorming and outlining a timelines for a project or homework is a great bonding activity but IF YOU DO YOUR CHILD’S WORK YOU HURT THEM IN THE LONGRUN. I know many, many students (and friends I had in college) who could simply not finish projects because they usually had their parents pushing them through or helping them finish.

Remember that if your child is struggling or taking too much time to do work, you should definitely email the teacher and ask for guidance. Often times this can be solved with your child getting a little more help after class, hiring a tutor or getting a study buddy.

 

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