Parents can help children succeed with homework by providing clear messages about the importance of homework and specific support strategies.
Homework is an important part of school. Expect children to complete homework and hand it in when it is due. Holding children accountable for homework builds responsibility and time management skills.
Parental support will be provided as needed. Some children are genuinely overwhelmed by homework, either because they find it too difficult or because they don’t know how to work on their own. However, children are less likely to become discouraged or frustrated when parents offer encouragement and assure them that help is available when they get stuck. For some children, it is helpful just to have a parent nearby while they work.
Parents will not do homework for their children. This message lets children know that the parent role is to encourage and to help them get unstuck, while at the same time communicating that homework is designed to help children master skills that parents already attained.
Strategies for Supporting Homework
Check in with your children every day. Studies show that students who have parental assistance in completing homework spend more time on homework. While some children, particularly as they get older, resist help or supervision from parents, minimally parents can ask them about homework and plans for completing it. ‘‘What do you have to do and when are you going to do it?’’ should be a daily mantra for parents as they help their children plan for homework.
Establish clear homework routines. Tasks are easiest to accomplish when they are tied to specific routines. By establishing daily routines for homework completion, parents will not only make homework go more smoothly, but they will also foster a sense of order that children can apply to later life, including college and work. Setting up homework routines early in elementary school can build habits that will make it easier for children to adjust to the greater homework demands that middle school and high school present. The steps to establishing homework routines include:
1. Identify a location where homework will be done. Make sure children have all the materials needed to complete homework assignments (e.g., pencils, erasers, paper, dictionary, calculator). Decide on the best time to do homework (e.g., right after school, just before or after dinner). Make plans for completing homework (i.e., list all the tasks to be accomplished, identify when children will begin each task, and have your children estimate how long it will take to complete each task). Supervise but don’t micromanage. Some children will need more help with homework than others, but a general rule of thumb is provide the minimum help necessary for the child to be successful.
2. Help children establish and maintain organizational systems. Help your children keep workspaces neat and set up systems to keep track of homework assignments.
3. Use incentives if necessary. For children who are not motivated by grades, parents may need to look for other rewards to help them get through their nightly homework routine. Incentive systems fall into two categories: simple and elaborate. Simple incentive systems include:
Giving children something to look forward to once homework is complete Building in breaks along the way Building in choice, such as the order in which they will complete tasks or the schedule they will follow
Elaborate incentive systems involve more planning and more work on the part of parents, but in some cases are necessary to address more significant homework problems. These systems work best when parents and children develop them together. Allowing children to have input gives them a sense of control and ownership, making the system more likely to succeed. Steps to follow in creating a more formal incentive system include:
Describe the problem behaviors Set a goal Decide on possible rewards or penalties Write a homework contract, identifying what everyone will do
Meadowbrook Intermediate School
Mrs. Kimberly Wilks, Principal email@example.com 111 West Roosevelt Street Moro, IL. 62067 Phone: (618) 377-7270 Fax: (618) 551-7741