If helping your child with homework is something that you dread, you are not alone. I have three kids and when they say they have homework (almost every night!) I cringe a little, especially if it’s math. We already did this when we were in school, am I right? But to be serious, I want to help my kids understand things and do their best work, but that doesn’t mean the entire process isn’t stressful for all of us. Luckily, there are plenty of ways of helping your child with homework that can make nights more peaceful and grades desirable. Check them out!
1. A Set Location
One of the best ways of helping your child with homework is having a designated place to get it done. For me, that’s the kitchen table. They can spread out their papers and write on a solid surface without being distracted by the television or the toys. Also, it allows me to guide them while I cook dinner. Choose a place that is free of distractions and has room for books, paper and pencils.
2. Be Prepared
It’s very hard to get homework done when there isn’t a single pencil to be found. Trust me! If you have a set of homework items that are only for that purpose, you know you won’t be spending all your time hunting down an eraser. A drawer or bin is the perfect place to keep writing implements, a pencil sharpener, a calculator and extra paper.
I can’t even tell you how tempting it is to give my kid the answer so we can just be done with the homework. However, having your child find his own answers sets him up for success down the road. I’m not saying you can’t help, but instead of just telling him what to write down, show him how to look it up in his textbook or on the computer. Those are tools that will serve him well in the future.
4. Understand the Material
My junior high student pretty much knows he can’t come to me for help with math homework because I’m hopeless. However, I do make an effort to find out how his teachers teach the material and I do my best to have a grasp of it myself so that I can give him my assistance at home. Of course, this is easier for some subjects than others, but if you refresh your mind on what your child is learning, you’ll be better equipped to help him at home.
5. Set a Schedule
At my house, the kids get 30 minutes of television and a snack before I ask them to work on homework. After all, they just spent the entire day at school and sometimes another hour at sports practice. They deserve a break. Once their time is up though, we get right on getting the work finished. Set a schedule that works for you so that everyone knows when it’s time to do homework. It really cuts down on the arguments and the procrastination.
6. Make a Plan
Say your child comes home with a math worksheet, a one-page essay and a crossword puzzle to finish by tomorrow. Help her create a plan regarding how she’ll get it all done. What will she do first? How much time will she spend on it? Manageable tasks are much easier to do, so a plan can get your child on the right track to getting finished.
Kids want to please their parents, so take the time to praise his efforts when it comes to homework. Maybe he found a way to solve the dilemma of leaving his book at school. High five him and make a big deal out of it. That encouragement makes it much more likely that he’ll do the same next time around.
Do you hate homework as much as I do? I live for breaks when there are no reading logs, no complicated math formulas and no projects that require 45 trips to the craft store and several hundred dollars. However, it must be done. Which tip is most helpful to you? Do you have any others to add?