If it's fall, it must be back-to-school time. And with school comes homework. If homework is synonymous with nightly battles in your home, then these tips will help to alleviate that and will help your child complete his or her assignments expeditiously. Your position and assistance in the homework battle can shorten the skirmishes and go far in forging a lasting peace. First of all, provide a place for your child to do homework.
This place should be equipped with material he or she may need, such as writing utensils, a clean area away from the household hubbub, and equipped with resource materials such as a computer and dictionary. This area may be where a parent can help while performing another task such as preparing dinner, but it must be away from a television. Next, provide a time that is routinely set aside for homework. This must be tailored to the child and the household. Time committed to sports, a job and other activities must be considered and alloted for.
And to the extent possible, homework should be regarded as the priority for after school or evening time. Television and video games are not priorities for your kids' weeknight hours. They may be enjoyed after all else is done or used as rewards. Provide an organizational system that helps your child keep track of assignments. This will no doubt include an assignment notebook, either with blank pages or one that has the dates filled in and has spaces for subject and homework.
Next, provide color coded notebooks and pocket folders; for example, blue for math, red for language arts, etc. Label one pocket in each folder as "to be done" and label one as "completed". Instruct your child that daily assignments are to written in the assignment notebook and papers to be completed and assignment hand-outs go in one side of the pocket folder. Once complete, the homework goes in the other side of the pocket folder. Keep track of your child's assignments and progress.
This is a highly individualized task. Some kids need constant checking that assignments are completed, some need very little. Until you are sure that your child is organized enough to keep track of their work and complete it on time, you need to make sure that they are doing it.
If you notice a long-term assignment or project, engage your child in a conversation that includes a plan for completion. Help him or her to break the assignment down into components that might include research, first draft and the final draft; or research, outline of project, supplies and resources needed to complete project and time to complete project. If your child needs to be alone in his or her room to focus on homework, you should give your child the leeway to try this.
Some kids want quiet, some want music. The one rule you must enforce is no television and phone calls during homework. If your child needs to call to get an assignment or get clarification, the call must be brief. If your child has a cell phone, designate a place where the phone gets left during homework time. That must be a non-negotiable stand in the parents' camp. You must be available to your child for questions.
Whether you can fit it in or not, you are a valuable resource for your child and if you are lucky enough to have your child respect your help and suggestions, you had better be there willing and ready to help. Even if you aren't a whiz in algebra, you can help your child find other resources for answers. Help if you are asked. Help if you aren't asked. Make it a point to attend the fall open house at your child's school. Meet the teachers and learn expectations of each class.
Understand how grades are determined. Use this information as the basis for conversations with your child. Make sure they understand what is expected of them in each class. If you know that the big science project is due mid-October, expect to see signs of activity on that project 1-2 weeks ahead of that. If you don't see any signs of movement on the task, start a discussion with your child about his or her plans for completion of the project. Ask your child to give you any class papers handed out at the start of the year and make copies of them for your own reference.
Know when exams are scheduled and help your child prepare or help them stay on track to prepare themselves. As in any battle, there are 2 sides. Next, we will examine the obligations and position of the other side: your child.
Yet, if both sides work toward the same goal, can we still call it a war? No, probably not. But, I doubt anyone will deny that battles will rage nonetheless.
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