Back 2 School: Homework Tips for Parents

With school returning to full swing for teachers, kids, and parents, I will be sharing Back 2 School with you this week- a series geared towards parents from a teacher's perspective. I taught 3rd grade gifted and talented for 2 years, and I taught kindergarten last year. Even though I only have three years of teaching experience, hopefully I can share with you some ideas and insight that will help you and your child have a better school year.

Homework can be a sensitive subject for parents. Many parents have a distaste for homework due to the struggles they have in helping their child complete what their teacher sends home. Today I am going to share with you just a few ways to make homework go more smoothly. 

Homework Tips for Parents

1. Establish a set time to do homework everyday. I'm going to repeat myself, but setting routines will help your child excel academically, as well as improve their growth and development. Kids will get into the habit of doing homework at the same time everyday, and you will not even have to remind them to get started, which means less headaches for you. 

2. Designate a homework location. Having a set area for homework provides more structure and routine for your child. It really does not matter where you designate the homework area to be, but keep in mind that it needs to be a place with little distractions, and little to no noise. Several parents choose the kitchen table, or even have a desk area designated for homework time. I do not recommend the living room floor, in front of the TV. But you could have already assumed that!

3. Keep basic school supplies on hand. If the homework area in your home is going to be the kitchen table, then keep a small basket or plastic bin in a cabinet, or even store the following school items in a nearby drawer: pencils, lined notebook paper, colored pencils, markers, plain copy paper, crayons, jumbo pink erasers, pens, a ruler, calculator, etc. Having these school supplies on hand will prevent your child from having to remember to bring home supplies that he or she keeps at school, and then remember to return them back to school the next day. Also, kids are then not wasting homework time trying to find what they need in order to complete the assignment. 

4. Motivate kids with their favorite healthy snack. Before starting homework, motivate your kids with a healthy snack. This will raise their blood sugar from the low they might have since they haven't eaten anything since lunch, in turn giving them energy to get their homework tasks accomplished. 

5. Supervise and coach. Many parents find frustration in their child's homework because school isn't what it used to be, and the methods that kids learn to solve problems, answer questions, or even read a book, are not the same way you and I were taught. 

Instead of trying to sit beside your child to help them do their homework, I have a better suggestion for parents: just supervise and coach. Stay within an earshot of kids during homework time. Check on them every 10 minutes to make sure that they are doing alright, and coach them through what they need help with. If they are really struggling, tell them to do their best, write their teacher a note, and send it to school the next day with the homework assignment. Please, please, please do not do your child's homework for them. This totally defeats the purpose of the homework to begin with, and just so you know, teachers can tell what you did. 

Just a few extra thoughts: 

  • Just because your child does not come home with a homework assignment, does not mean that they should not be practicing skills at home. I know teachers that send home a list of words to review, or even a book to read, instead of a worksheet or math problems out of the book. 
  • Remember to read, read, read. Read to your child every night. If your child is old enough to read on their own, encourage them to read for a set amount of time each night. Take turns reading to each other. Visit the library and make goals to read a certain amount of books in a month. 
  • Visit educational websites. Earlier in this series, I included 7 Websites for Kids. Let your child explore these websites for a set amount of time, but err on the side of caution; too much internet time has the same effect as too much TV time. 
Starting a new school year can be a time of transition for both parents and children. Hopefully the Back 2 School Series has given you some tips and ideas for creating a successful school year for both you and your child. 

If you have any questions or additional homework tips for parents, feel free to leave them below in the comments. 

Much love, 

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