It’s that time of year again! Your child is receiving her first homework assignments. Who’s more apprehensive, you or your child? For many parents, homework is a struggle. It’s up to parents to help build good HW habits, and you will be rewarded in the long run for effort put in early on. Here are some tips for setting your child up for HW success.
- Prepare a tidy, quiet, and comfortable workstation for your child. A desk in his room may seem ideal, but the workstation should be near where you hang out so you can monitor his work. A tidy dining room or kitchen table may be better, as long as you keep the TV off nearby.
- When the kids come home from school, let them have a little downtime before starting their work. A game of catch or even the walk home are perfect ways to decompress and get the blood moving after school. Skip the TV and video games until the HW is finished.
- Help your child as needed, by keeping him on task, clarifying directions, and answering questions. Just don’t micromanage or do the work for him. HW is for reinforcing skills and measuring progress, not impressing the teacher with your ability. Aim for your child to complete her homework independently, with a check over from you when it’s complete.
- Create a centrally located calendar for all the kids’ long term assignments. Yes, your children should be accountable for managing their time, but this is a learned skill you have to model. Plus, you know you are going to be the one rushing to the craft store the night before the diorama is due, so keep an assignment calendar to limit surprises.
- When a long term assignment is given, continue to teach time management skills by helping your child plan out the steps toward completing the work. Break a large assignment into smaller ones and put them on the calendar. For example, schedule a time to read a chapter a night, create an outline, shop for supplies, write the first draft, etc.
- Keep the computer in a public place and keep it off during HW, even the news, Mom! If your child needs to use the word-processor for HW, you can turn off the router to avoid social media distractions.
- Praise for hard work is worth more than praise for correct answers and intelligence.
How long should HW take? According to the National Education Association, HW in 1st grade should take 10-20 minutes and and additional 10 minutes per grade. So, HW in 5th grade should take about 50 minutes. If HW takes longer than the recommended time, let your child’s teacher know and ask if he/she thinks there may be a problem.