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Homework Headaches

Many parents are confused over homework. Some wonder why their child seldom has any. Others have the entire evening centered on homework. All parents are concerned about how involved they should be in their children’s homework.

Children benefit from having some homework on a regular basis. It gets them into the habit of setting aside time for study. There are some ways parents can navi­gate the maze of homework issues.

Do not get into the routine of spending two to three hours on homework every evening. On occasion parents may have to call it quits before all the homework is done. Neither children nor parents can work past the point of frustration. Homework time does need to come to an end.

Here are a few useful things to keep in mind:

  • Time: Try to have your child do homework at the same time each school day. There is no best time to do homework, but the worst time to do it is right before bed.
  • Location: It is also important to have a consistent study location. Some children do their homework sitting at a desk in their rooms. Others do better work at the kitchen or dining room table.
  • Television: In spite of what they say, chil­dren cannot concentrate on homework while watching TV. Listening to music while doing homework may be less distracting, but it is still not a good idea.
  • Supervision: Show an interest in your children’s homework, but do not get into the habit of sitting down with them when they do their homework. If you do that on a regular basis, your children will make a connection between doing homework and having a parent as a crutch.
  • Plan: For children who regularly have a lot of homework, plan out the order in which it is to be done. Have your child do the easier assignments first and save the harder things for last.
  • Reading: If your child struggles with read­ing comprehension, have her or him read out loud. Oral reading increases comprehension because the material is processed through two senses. If your child has poor word recognition skills, read some of the material to her or him. Being able to listen to the assigned social studies text may help your child get through the material.
  • Review: Help your child study for tests by orally reviewing the material together. Talk through the pictures and diagrams. Ask a lot of “why” questions. Regularly review spelling words, math facts, and memory work. Reciting memory work one more time before going to bed is helpful.
  • Encouragement: Provide verbal encour­agement. Children need to know that you appreci­ate their efforts.
  • Contact: Maintain regular contact with your child’s teacher so you know how school is working out. Don’t wait for the teacher to come to you if you see your child has a problem. If your child seems to have a lot of homework, talk to the teacher to see if he or she is using school time wisely.

    From Patient Parenting, by John Juern. © 2006 Northwestern Publishing House. All rights reserved.

    Image credit: Pixabay (used under Creative Commons CC0)

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