Homework Hints

Posted by Lynn Evans on 2/14/2018 10:25:00 AM

Homework is an important part of the educational process.  Learning to manage time and prioritizing activities are important life-lessons. High-quality homework reinforces the curriculum, offers enrichment activities, and can help engage the parents in their child’s learning. The third quarter of any school year can be a difficult time to keep students motivated on homework completion. The winter weather tends to wear on all of us and the activity schedules are very busy right after the holiday break.  Finding the time, or the proper place, to complete homework is a challenge. Students can get stressed over their time commitments and getting homework assignments completed

Students aren't the only ones concerned with homework - parents are also eager to help their children master assignments. It's important to make homework time a productive time.  Parents need to learn how to support their children in doing homework without feeling like they are doing it for them. Doing so isn't as hard as it sounds, with the help of a few tips:

Set up the right environment. Parents can provide children with a place to get homework done. This should be a quiet, clean, organized and not cluttered spot. While many kids may thrive under complete silence, some experts recommend quietly playing classical music in the background, citing surveys that tout increased productivity in homework while listening.

Help your child stay focused and motivated. A lot of parents have trouble during homework time because they feel like they're the wardens in a prison.

The key is to balance supervision with encouragement, allowing your child the freedom to complete his or her assignments while making sure that homework gets done. If your child seems continuously distracted during homework time, consult with the school to see if there's a larger underlying issue.

Encourage plenty of breaks.  There's a good body of research that says that if children take frequent breaks, they're more productive than if they do homework for a long period of time.  One idea is to set a timer for 20 minutes when the time is up, parents should quickly review homework, offer encouragement and allot for a short break.  Also, students need water; it's energizing and refreshing. Steer children away from sugary sweets during homework time. A nutritious snack, a quick walk around the house or even listening to a favorite song during breaks is advisable.
Keep track of shorter and longer projects alike. Get a big calendar and know your child. If your child procrastinates, break longer projects into mini-steps, and check in frequently. It takes the pressure off the child and puts it on the calendar. When possible, include work "assignments" for parents and other members of the family as well; this may set a positive example and motivate
your child to keep track of his or her own projects better.

Talk to the school. Don't skip the step of talking to your child's teacher. Teachers can fill parents in on homework expectations, give advice about study skills and techniques, and even recommend outside help if needed.  Our Middle School offers school-sponsored homework help programs allowing students to stay late and receive help from teachers or tutors. High School and Elementary teachers offer the same services by arrangement.  Take advantage of them!

Don't be afraid not to know all the answers. Even the best parent may be stumped by long division or the meaning of "Moby Dick" at times. It's OK not to know because what school is all about is instilling the desire to learn. Be willing to look up the answers along with your child to help foster his or her love for learning.