I have a really strong memory of an all nighter when I was in my last year of high school. I had 2 assignments to finish and also needed to study for an exam. My father came to my room and said goodnight. I kept studying and after a couple of hours left my room to get a drink. I saw my father. He was sitting on the lounge, attempting to read a book through sleepy eyes. I asked him what he was doing.
He said: “I’m helping you with your homework".
How parents can help with homework
Teachers really appreciate it when parents help their children with homework. But our definition of helping may be different to yours. Below you will find a list of ways you can be involved and help your child with homework. The same strategies apply from Kindergarten all the way to high school.
1. Create a successful homework environment
Parents can help their children by creating an organized spot for homework. This could be at the kitchen table, or in an office. It should be a place with minimal distractions, access to all necessary equipment and with appropriate distance to you (younger children may need you close by, high school students may need more distance)
2. Prepare an able mind ready for work
The second way to help with homework is making sure your child is ready to work. That means they have had some time to eat, play and rest before starting their homework.
3. Be a Coach
A good coach is someone who motivates his team, cheers for them when they do a good job and offers tips for when they are becoming tired or lazy. Parents can do the same thing and it doesn't matter if the child is in elementary school, middle school and high school.
4. Be a Referee
Sometimes parents need to step in and be a homework referee. If a child is having too much difficulty with some homework, or spent far too long on a task then for your children I think it is appropriate to stop your child and write a note to the teacher.
5. Set up Homework guidelines
What specific areas could you help your child with? You could read with them, listen to their spelling words, proofread an assignment or even help brainstorm a topic. These are all reasonable ways to help your child. But you need to decide on how and make it public to your family. And, of course, you should be aware of your child's high school schedule to help him out.
That’s it! And if you can do all those tasks your child should be able to complete their homework to the best of their ability.
But I don’t understand the homework.
Guess what? That doesn’t bother me at all. I tell parents that they have already finished school so they don’t need to do anymore homework. Corrine Smith and Lisa Strick, in their book “Learning Disabilities: A to Z” state that “Many kids will let you do as much of their work as your willing to do, and some are adept at sucking parents into providing much more assistance than they have planned.” (p.219)
Does that happen in your family?
In fact, I actually think there are some problems with becoming too involved in understanding and helping your child complete homework tasks:
1. As a teacher I assume the child has completed the work, and therefore knows the content. That may not be the case if the child has had too much support
2. The child may rely too much on individual support and attention when most homework is designed to be completed independently
By all means, help your child. Help them by creating a great place to study, with lots of time, encouragement and support.
This is a guest post from Ainslie Hunter who has a blog called Study Skills Mentor
where she gives support and ideas to help parents and students with home organization, homework, assignments and study revision. You can also find her at Eduwebmedia
where she posts her ideas on how blogs and social media can be used by education institutions to create community.
- Parental Involvement Through the PTA