Sometimes there aren’t enough hours in the day (even at school). In turn, there are many differing opinions when it comes to homework. Some parents want their child to have as much homework as they can possibly handle. Some parents like a reasonable amount and others think there shouldn’t be any homework assigned at all. No matter your opinion, if your child is required to complete schoolwork at home, there are some ways to make it as painless as possible:
Allow for plenty of time. Rushing through homework is not meaningful learning, and it completely defeats the original purpose. Assess your schedule to create a structured block of time for homework. This is unique to your child’s personality, as well. Some students prefer to complete homework immediately after school while others may need a break before completing the task.
Be sure to have the basic supplies needed to complete homework. A trip to the store to grab colored pencils late at night is no fun at all. This creates stress for everyone. Create a homework caddy or storage box with basic supplies to establish structure and organization.
Encourage independence. Often times, parents have a tendency to complete their child’s homework for them- “The answer is X, now please get it down so we can all go to bed.” However, this does not serve your child well.
Check for an understanding of the skill/objective. Sometimes parents feel as if every single problem must be checked and accurate. This isn’t necessary. If the child has a general understanding of the assignment, homework can be an independent activity. A perfect paper could mislead a teacher to believe the child understands a concept, when in fact, she may not.
Encourage effort. Children get complacent on completing homework, and it’s important to maintain high expectations.
For large projects, set mini-deadlines. Procrastination equals frustration for all. Create a realistic timeline to complete projects like book reports, science fair projects, invention fair projects, etc. Not only will the project have better quality, this teaches your child a beneficial life skill of time management.
Communicate with the teacher. Cheri Green, sixth-grade teacher at Moore Public Schools, feels that “It is important for parents to communicate with teachers.” She once had a student that was spending hours on homework and Mrs. Green had no idea. Once the parents communicated with her, “I was able to work closely with that student in class to make sure she grasped the concept before she went home to complete the assignment.” Green reiterates, “Communication is so important between all three: parent, student and teacher.”
Organization is key. There’s nothing more frustrating than a completed homework assignment that doesn’t get turned in for credit. Although elementary-aged students are often instructed to use specific folders or binders, older students are given a bit more freedom and fall out of this habit. Encourage your child to have a designated “homework” folder. Some students are required to use an agenda to take note of homework assignments, but if not, this highly recommended.
Yes, homework can be a positive experience!
Julie Dill-Burnett is the mother of two teen daughters. She teaches fourth grade in Moore Public Schools and holds a National Board Certification. In addition, she is an adjunct professor at Rose State College. She is the author of "Bluff," a young adult novel