Tips and More Tips for Helping Your Child with Homework
Do you have trouble setting homework parameters in your house? How much is too much help? What is the right amount of help? Here are some tips sent to me by an SMA parent by Annie Griffin of the Shipley School that I have altered and to which I have added recommendations. Please use any of these that might help your family avoid homework battles and develop strategies to enhance the homework experience.
1) Provide a public place for your child to complete homework where the television and radio are not competing for attention. As far as possible, eliminate screens and the distractions of texting or messaging.
2) If screen time is required for homework (confirm this with teachers) have the screen facing your direction. Have a written agreement with your child that he/she helps to create about what studying and homework mean. Set a time when playing on the device, surfing the net and exchanging texts are allowed. Between parents and student, establish written guidelines about timing and breaks.
3) Provide 5-10 minute breaks with the goal of no more than two hours or perhaps two and a half for completing homework depending on your child’s profile. If more time is required on occasion, that is understandable. If more with three or so short breaks is regularly required as the year progresses, contact teachers and/or the MS principal.
4) Set your involvement with homework based on what your child’s academic standing shows on Infinite Campus and/or teacher commentary and not just on what your child is telling you.
5) Make sure your advice on how to study and learn is based on your child’s learning style and not on how you learn. Discover what your child’s learning style is by observation and by talking with his/her teachers.
6) Avoid direct handling of work. That means don’t handle the pen, pencil or keyboard.
7) If your child asks, offer verbal counsel. Otherwise, do not give unsolicited help. Respect their need to struggle and allow them to miss the mark if you see that they are giving the assignment adequate effort and attention. Learning to prioritize and complete home assignments is a process over years.
8) I really like this suggestion by Annie Griffin: Let this question be your guide: Is my involvement in this process helping my child be more successful when I am not around?
9) I add this question: Is my involvement in the homework/studying process creating a battle rather than seeking to establish comfortable parameters and structure within which your child finds success and learns how to manage failure?
10) Offer time and place for your child to complete a paper planner on Sunday for the next week that includes school assignments and family events. This sort of overview helps to see the forest and then focus on the trees.
Adapted and added to from an article by Annie Griffin, Middle School Academic Dean and Learning Coordinator at The Shipley School in Bryn Mawr, PA.