Your child is gaining several simple skills each time she sits down to do work at home. All four will help her as she matures.
Responsibility. — The homework assignment is your child’s responsibility (not yours). When students assume responsibility for their homework and complete an assignment, it is only then that they learn to be accountable for their actions.
Time management. — Students complete their assignments or projects on time when they are organized. Turning the project in on time has it advantages because points are not deducted and your child won’t suffer consequences.
Perseverance. – Homework teaches kids how to deal with adversity. Your child can take pride in finishing an assignment regardless of difficulties or problems.
Self-esteem. — Completing homework in a timely manner will help your child develop trust and self-confidence. The inspiration to work harder on the next project occurs when kids feel good about their accomplishments.
9 How-to-Study Tips
Parents are team members on the homework front. You can create a positive atmosphere for your child by following these nine simple tips.
• Organization is a must. Get your child organized by developing a schedule for homework assignments, projects, and tests. Post all homework assignments and projects on a wall calendar (or the refrigerator, as I did) for easy viewing. Share your email address with teachers in order to stay up-to-date on important assignments, special projects, and tests. Check your school’s website regularly for homework updates. Also frequently check your child’s backpack for handouts and messages from the school.
• When your child does homework, you do homework. Show your child that the skills he is learning now are related to things you do later on as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too; if your child is doing math, balance your checkbook. In other words, work together in harmony and demonstrate as a parent how these new skills relate to adult duties and responsibilities.
• When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her. As parents, we always strive to teach honesty, integrity, and good character.
• When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher because it shows your child that the school and home are working jointly as a team, and follow the directions given by the teacher. Speak positively about your child’s school and never ever criticize the teacher or principal in front of the child.
• If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
• Stay informed. Talk with your child’s teacher weekly. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child’s class rules are. Additionally, a parent-teacher conference is an excellent time for important people in a student’s life to talk about how that student is doing in school, including conduct, grades, tests, and homework assignments. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions about the class or your child’s progress.
• Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take a short break if he is having trouble keeping his mind on an assignment, and provide plenty of positive reinforcements daily. Also, encourage your child when a task has been completed wrongly. While reprimanding him may be your first response, think carefully before acting. You’ll likely get better results if you provide love and support as you firmly, yet gently correct the issue.
• Reward progress in homework. If your child has been working hard or is successful in completing work, celebrate that success with a special event. Enjoy a pizza together, a walk, or a movie to reinforce positive effort.
• Pledge to spend quality time with your child. Yes, as parents we’re faced with financial challenges, underemployment, busy schedules, and other issues that can threaten family time. However, regardless of what you face, remember to spend some quality time with your children each day and ensure that proper “home-learning” takes place.
— Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson is a retired Memphis City Schools counselor.
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The Importance of Homework
It’s the bane of many children’s lives, but homework does serve an important educational purpose and it’s helpful for parents to encourage a healthy attitude to homework from an early age.
Going to school all day is enough for some children, so coming home and having to do more work isn’t much fun. However as much as they hate homework, it is an important part of their education and learning. It can be hard work cajoling children into sitting down and dutifully doing any homework they’ve been set, but in the long run it’s definitely worth persisting with it.
As parents, you can play a role by trying to encourage a healthy attitude to homework. Rather than focusing on the negatives (having to sit down and work when they want to go out and play) try and help children see that homework can be fun.
When they’re young, homework won’t be long and arduous and there may be tasks set that you can all join in with and offer insight into. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you do their homework for them, but you can get actively involved in helping them find answers, do research or work through problem-solving activities.
If your child is still very reluctant to do any work at home, then it may also help to offer small incentives. For example, this could be allowing them to go out and play, play a computer game or watch television when they’ve done their homework. It’s probably best to avoid large incentives, such as monetary payments, especially for young children.
Why Is Homework Important?Homework is an important extension of classroom learning. It helps to cement the ideas that children learn at school (or should be learning!), helping things sink in further and expanding their knowledge. Homework can take various forms, consisting of:
- Solving problems of a mathematical or scientific nature.
- Answering a series of questions.
- Writing creative prose and short stories.
- Keeping a journal of holiday or weekend experiences.
- Writing an essay.
- Preparation for a test, such as a spelling test, where you need to learn certain word spellings.
- Looking things up in an encyclopedia or on the Internet to improve research skills.
- Finding things out about themselves or their families.
Some schools promote the use of homework diaries, which are ideal for making a note of what homework you’re supposed to be doing. Without them, there are always some children who forget to write down the details or miss what was being said. Not handing in any homework can get them into trouble at school and isn’t a pattern or habit that you want them to caught up in.
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