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Homework Help for your Child!
Getting Headaches When Your Child has Homework to Complete?
I am an elementary classroom teacher...this is my first hub and thought I could assist some of you parents out there! I know many parents face the 'dreaded' homework their child brings home. It can become a very stressful time for both parents and children! Disagreements, fighting with your children to do their homework can be a daily event. Who needs that stress? I have some suggestions for you that I trust will make homework time easier to manage while also teaching your child better study skills and responsibility. Another benefit will be improved grades!
As an educator for nearly 20 years, parents have asked me over and over about how difficult it is for them to get their children to do homework. Let's face it, the last thing children want to do when they get home from school is to do their homework! If you think about it, you really can't blame them for that attitude. They are in a classroom most of the day and have a ton of energy to use. Today's child sometimes has a fuller schedule than adults...with all the after school activities available, even in elementary school. Most of the problems about homework stem with so much to do and a limited amount of time. All these activities are desirable, while homework, of course, is on the bottom of the list! Hopefully, the suggestions below will help your child be more productive with the time he/she has to complete school work. These are just a few of the methods I have found to be beneficial. So, if you are ready, let's begin!
The most important thing you can do as a parent is be consistent in whatever you decide to do. Children need structure, and setting a regular homework/study time and sticking to it as much as possible is one key to developing good study habits and time management skills. Not having consistency causes confusion. Right after school is usually not a good time for homework. Children need to unwind a bit, relax, most likely get a snack and have a little fun. A little old-fashioned physical activity will work wonders by helping the children clear their minds and release a lot of pent up energy that has built up during the day. I suggest a time when 1 parent is home to help the child, not only with their work, but to keep them focused on the tasks at hand. Even joining the child in that fun activity before homework will create a closer relationship with him/her and will reap benefits!
Providing a quiet, distraction free environment is vital. When studying in high traffic, noisy areas like a kitchen, children get distracted easily by the events going on around them and by constant interruptions. Computers, TVs, radios, cell phones, etc. need to be turned off or at least turned low so as not to be heard in the study area. Also, the child should not be able to see the TV screen. Try to keep pets, other siblings, etc. away from the area. A child can use almost anything for a distraction. The adult caregiver or parent should be the only one going into the room for best results. A comfortable, well-lighted room with a desk or table, chair and any items they need to do school work (pencils, markers, rulers, dictionary, etc.) should be close at hand. The room should be easily accessible by the parents to monitor what is going on and be available to assist if needed. If possible, keep the door open at all times.
Keeping organized is another area children have difficulty with. I always had children carry a 'Homework' folder to and from school. Any assignments, notes home, etc. were placed in this folder. So, when the child comes home, the parents would know to look for that folder with the child in their backpack and briefly see what work needs to be completed, etc. That will help you know approximately how much time the child will need to complete it. Also, when all work is completed, just have the child put it in the folder with you and place it in their backpack for the next day.
I have found that if a parent that takes a genuine interest in their child's homework, and participates with the child, attitudes improve. It also gives the parent some insight as to what the child is doing in school. It won't take a lot of time and the benefits are well worth the effort! Some activities such as using flashcards on math facts, questioning children on concepts for an upcoming test, sometimes just sitting next to the child while they are working, providing encouragement and help when needed is great! It shows the child that you, the parent, value education and school. Parental involvement is very important!
All children need praise and encouragement, so when they do something right, let them know! Praise goes a LONG way, believe me! A child likes nothing more than a parent praising them for a job well done!
The hard part is now done...you have followed the steps diligently, but occasionally, a teacher will let you know your child hasn't turned in their homework. The dreaded call from your child's teacher!! Don't panic wondering what you did wrong! I know from experience the shock of this news, especially when the parents are doing all that they can to help! When you and your child put that folder for returning work in the backpack, just be calm and together with the teacher figure out what happened! It is normally a very easy thing to fix! Children are going to be forgetful and many times I have found they just forgot or didn't hear the teacher ask for it. Most teachers will take care of this, but sometimes they too get overwhelmed at the beginning of the day or are trying to develop responsibility in the students by having them turn in their homework. I suggest finding out what their teacher is doing in that area. But, you can help too. I had this problem with one student and communicated with the parent about it. The mother told me her child did the work, but just keeps forgetting to turn it in. I suggested we put a colored sticker dot on the back of her hand; the same color as her homework folder. The mother wrote the letter 'H' on that sticker and eventually the child began to remember to turn her work in because she saw that sticker on the back of her hand. After awhile, she didn't need the sticker since she was remembering to turn in her homework on her own!
Well, I hope this was somewhat helpful. Every parent wants to promote good study and work habits with their children and I trust this will assist you! I trust it will help you not pull your hair out when it comes to getting your children to do their assignments! I know my suggestions don't cover everything, but they do cover some of the basic ways to help your child. Most of all, be patient. Anything new like this is going to take time. The beneficial results won't be seen for awhile in most cases, but if you can be consistent, you will see them eventually.