Research shows that doing homework enhances a child’s learning and helps them develop essential skills that they will use for life - organization, problem solving, goal-setting and perseverance to name a few.
Checklist for Success: Homework and Studying
- Set time aside each day for homework and play. Try to organize the family’s schedule to allow time for your student to do homework each day. Homework time will be more productive if it isn’t left until just before bedtime when your child is tired.
- Designate a specific area for homework and studying. Provide a space that is quiet, comfortable, well-lit and functional. A table that has room to spread out pencils, paper, books and other materials works well. If you have room, find a separate space for each of your children to work.
- Eliminate as many distractions as possible.
- Turn off the TV and electronic games. Depending on the location of your TV set, it may need to be ‘no TV time’ when it is study time. Electronic games and TV are certain distractions for children trying to study.
- What about music? That depends - some children do well while listening to music but others do not. What is helpful for one may be a distraction for another so consider earphones if necessary.
- Have all the necessary materials available. Make sure you have paper, pencils, erasers, pens, books, a dictionary, etc.
- Set homework time according to age and grade level. Students in high school should be able to focus for an hour but students in first or second grade are unlikely to last more than 15 minutes at a time. Watch for frustration – students don’t learn if they are upset or tired.
- Organize big assignments into smaller, manageable pieces. Breaking assignments down into smaller parts is often helpful for students. Then they can do one piece at a time and take a short break after each as a reward for their effort.
- Encourage students to write down assignments, homework and test dates in their agenda. This will eliminate confusion about when assignments are due.
- Share any concerns about homework with the teacher. Be sure to let the teacher know if your child is having difficulty or is unable to do most of their homework by themselves.
It is important for students to learn that studying is more than just doing homework and assignments. Encourage your student to learn things like:
- how to take notes as he's reading a text or listening to a lesson
- notes should not be word for word; they should include key points
- how to skim handouts, reports and articles and identify key points
- how to study tables and charts
- how to summarize what he/she has read in his/her own words.
Should parents help with homework? Yes, but a parent’s role is to help, not do, so keep these guidelines in mind.
- Be available for things such as calling out spelling words, checking a math problem after it’s completed, or helping to understand what needs to be done.
- When asked for help, assist by asking leading questions or breaking the problem in smaller steps that your child can do on their own.
- Encourage independence when asked to help with something your child should be able to handle on their own.
- Remember to be positive and encouraging - homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
Review marked assignments and tests together with your child. Discuss errors to make sure your child understands the material. Be certain to provide positive feedback on what was done well.
Cooperate with the teacher. Follow the directions given by the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team and are working together to support their learning.
Praise the effort - not just the final product. Students need to learn the importance of hard work and effort. Homework and assignments provide a great opportunity for you to reinforce a ‘do your best’ attitude and approach to schoolwork.
Be positive about homework. Teach your child that school is important. The attitude you show toward homework will be the attitude your child develops toward school and being an independent learner.