How to Support Your Child’s Homework … Without Doing It Yourself

The following post is from Jennifer, a lifelong educator:

Homework Helps {Make Learning Fun} |

See all of the Homework Helps posts here.

Homework is a double-edged sword.  The time spent in additional practice gives some students the boost they need to move forward in school.  That same practice, however, eats into precious family time. Complying with the teacher’s requirements and maintaining your sanity can force you to walk a fine line sometimes.

How to Support Your Child's Homework...Without Doing It Yourself at
source: spiritinme

Here are some tips for making homework a productive yet peaceful time for your family:

Grades 1-3

Designate a consistent homework area.  Stock it with paper, pencils, and erasers.  Turn off the TV.

Ask your child to show you their assignment list.  Have your child tell you which one they are going to complete first.

Make yourself available but don’t hover

When your child asks you to tell them the answer, smile and say, “You try it!”  If they are still stuck, ask them questions that will lead them to the answer instead of simply supplying it.

Do a quick check of each completed paper.  If all is correct, tell them that they did a great job and have them move on.

If there are only one or two errors on a paper, encourage your child to check their work to find what needs correction.  If there are multiple mistakes, sit down with your child to determine where their confusion lies.  This is a great time to write the teacher a note.  Don’t require your son or daughter to completely redo the paper – this can cause too much discouragement.  The teacher also needs to see where the confusion lies.

If your child struggles in school, monitor their work more closely.  Do frequent checks, helping them to quickly see what is right and what needs more attention.  Give lots of encouragement along the way, but resist the urge to tell your child the answers.  Stay in close communication with the teacher.

Grades 4 and up

Students at this age should gradually prove to you that they are capable of independently completing their homework.  It’s still a good idea to designate a homework area and turn off any screens.  But after letting you know what assignments they need to complete, they should be able to get to work on their own.

The amount of accountability required should be in proportion to their ability to pace themselves, complete the assignments with accuracy, and have a good attitude.  If your child rushes, or makes a lot of mistakes, or complain through the process, keep them close when working.  As they improve in these areas, affirm their progress and grant them more freedom.

Especially when you have more than one child with multiple assignments, juggling homework and everything else that you want to get done after school can be stressful.  The more you help your child see that homework is their responsibility and not yours, the less they will depend upon you to supply the answers and the more peaceful your home will be.

What is homework time like at your house?

Jennifer is passionate about children and education. She homeschooled her two sons for five years, established and directed a Christian school in Maryland for 20 years, and currently teaches in a public school in a Chicago suburb. She loves investing in relationships and delights in every moment that she spends with her family.