Ten minutes before 11 p.m. on a school night, Bradley Wallace is still doing his homework. His parents aren’t sure what to do. Every one is tired, Bradley’s begging for help and it has become a real struggle.
It can be excruciating for parents to watch their kids struggle through problems alone. The good news is, you can help take a lot of the hassles out of homework.
Why So Much Homework?
Because class size and curriculum often demand teachers not spend too much time on any one subject, schools rely on homework to reinforce what was taught at school. This gives parents an opportunity to see what their child is learning and help him study in a way he learns best. Experts stress parents should view homework as an opportunity to offer their child the extra attention that will help him get the most out of school.
How You Can Help and How Much to Give
When to do the work depends on the child. Some children need time to decompress after school while others do better getting homework out of the way as soon as they come home. Once you find what works best, don’t deviate. Routines are good. Make sure the environment is free of distractions and stocked with necessary supplies.
Both the national Parent Teacher Association and the U.S. Department of Education agree that it’s not only acceptable but vital to give children plenty of encouragement and even restrained help with homework, suggesting parents be not only available but physically close by. Sometimes, your presence alone will be enough to motivate your child to tackle his assignments.
Other times, he may need your direct help. This might mean answering questions, practicing spelling words or listening to him read aloud. Unless the teacher indicates otherwise, it’s usually fine to show your child an example and answer specific questions about how you completed the task. But remember, it’s your child’s homework, not yours. Be careful to stick to the role of advisor, not assistant.
Talk About Assignments
You can save a lot of time and frustration by going over the assignment with your child to make sure he clearly understands the task. If there’s any doubt, have him complete the first part of the assignment with you. If the instructions are vague and you don’t fully understand them yourself, contact the teacher, a classmate, or, if your school has one, the homework help line.
Help Your Child In The Way He Learns Best
You know how your child thinks, so use this to his advantage. If your child is a visual learner, demonstrate with graphs or pictures. If your student learns by hearing, you can recite a story involving fractions. A child who loves Star Wars might be more interested if asked what percentage of the Jedi counsel is comprised of Jedi masters.
When Homework is Done
Once homework is finished, check for completeness, but don’t correct mistakes. Instead, help your child discover the errors himself by asking how he came up with the answer or if he is sure it is correct. If your child is still stumped, leave a note for the teacher so she knows where your child needs help.
Shannon M. Dean is a freelance writer, wife and mother of two.
local homework help
Nashville’s Homework Hotline • 298-6636
Open Mon – Thu 4 – 8 p.m.
Homework Help at Your Library
Both the Nashville Public Library and the Linebaugh Library System (serving Rutherford County) offer online help in all subject areas.