School is back in session and that means, for a lot of parents, headaches are already starting as children are coming home, dragging in their book-bags, and complaining of too much homework. Everyone wants their children to succeed in school, but many are lost as to how to actually do this. Here are some guidelines on how to help you guide your child through the homework process so that they can be a successful student.
- First and foremost, you must get your child on a schedule. The rule of thumb is that elementary school children can expect 20 to 40 minutes of homework a night while students in middle and high school can expect up to two hours. So plan for this. Buy a calendar and schedule in the homework around all of the other activities that your child might have like karate, ballet, baseball, and church. If your child has a favorite TV show that comes on a certain time each day, put this in to their schedule. Just like work, fun time needs to be regimented so that they don’t feel like they never have any opportunity to relax. But once you have established the schedule, it is imperative that you stick to it.
- A child also needs a place to study. If you have a family room or den, set aside a desk or table just as a homework area. This should be a quiet place to work, read, and study, that is also well-lit. Remove distractions like television and also keep the area as low-traffic as possible. Younger siblings with no homework should not be playing in the area and causing distractions.
- Keep the study area well-stocked with resources. If your child needs pens, pencils, paper, crayons, scissors, glue and the like for their school work, then chances are you need to keep these on hand at home for their homework. In addition, you should also keep reference materials, including an internet connected computer if possible, on hand for the child to use if needed.
- Organization doesn’t just happen at home. Many schools are now providing children with agendas to write down their homework assignments daily. In fact, several school systems require parents to initial these agendas daily as a monitoring check of the homework. If your child’s school doesn’t provide an agenda, buy them one. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just a small spiral notebook will suffice. But make sure that they are writing down their assignments each and every day so that they are staying on top of their work.
- Don’t listen if your child says that they don’t have any homework. I know, we all remember how great it was to not have any homework and I’m not saying that a child should never have a night off. But if your child doesn’t have any homework, this would be the perfect time to review with them. Go over spelling or vocabulary words. Break out the flashcards and just drill for five or ten minutes over addition or multiplication. Or give them time to go online and play educational games at websites like Math Nook or Spelling City.
- Look over your child’s homework. Once finished, have your child pass everything off to you and look it over to see that it is done completely and correctly. This will not only help with completion and accuracy, but it will also show your child that you are legitimately interested in his or her success.
- Set the tone in your household. Whenever you can, turn off the television and sit down with a book. Let your child see that you value education and knowledge. Even if you hated a subject like math, don’t ever admit to that or call a subject “boring” because your children will pick up on that mentality.
If you do all of these things, there is no guarantee that your child will graduate as class valedictorian. But you will see a marked increase in his or her grades and a significant improvement in attitude toward learning. Remember, you are ultimately your child’s first teacher and you need to help them in this regard.