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Homework Help Guide for Parents: 10 Quick Tips

Sep 5, 2008
Parents play a key role in the homework process. Are you setting the right example for your children? Read on to find out how you can help them succeed without completing their assignments for them.

1. Designate a time and place
Creating a routine for your child will help them get in the habit of completing their homework without prompting. Make sure their "homework space" is quiet, has proper lighting, and a desk or writing surface. Do your best to minimize unnecessary interruptions so that your child can focus on their assignments.

2. Provide needed materials
Ensure that your child has all of the necessary supplies and resources to complete his or her assignments. It's also a good idea to have essentials on hand like a good dictionary, paper, pens, pencils, scissors, rulers, etc.

3. Set expectations
Make sure that your child knows your policy for homework time. How many breaks do they get and how often? What can they do on the breaks? What are the consequences of not finishing their assignments? Define these and other scenarios for your child.

4. Give 'em a break
Some experts suggest giving kids a 5 minute break every 15 minutes, while others feel children can work for increments of time longer than 15 minutes. Experiment with lengths of breaks to find what works best for your child. Avoid letting them watch television or play video games during break time as they will likely resist going back to homework once they have begun such activities.

5. Take an interest
Ask your child about his or her assignments, what topics they discuss in class, and what sort of expectations the teacher has set for the students. Ask about upcoming projects, your child's favorite subjects, and what they like most about their school and classes.

6. Be available
Make sure that your child knows that they can come to you for help as needed. Take the time to understand their assignments and avoid getting frustrated with them if they don't pick up an idea quickly. Be patient and maintain your calm--your child is likely frustrated as well and adding your frustration will only exacerbate the situation.

7. Provide praise and reward
Reward a job well done with an incentive program that you and your child can agree on. The most common is reminding them of an activity that they enjoy that they can engage in once their homework has been completed. This tried and true motivation is both simple and powerful for children of all ages.

8. Involve other family members
If you have multiple children, encourage them to help (not complete) with one another's homework. Often times even children of the same family will have different strengths and weaknesses.

9. Review the completed assignment
Once your child has completed their homework, look it over to ensure that they have properly understood the assignment and to help them with any mistakes they may have made.

10. Know where to turn for additional help
Even the smartest of parents can get stumped from time to time. Head to your local library for starters and talk to a librarian. Some libraries even offer a homework help center, help line, or online support. Take advantage of their training and expertise.
About the Author
Laura Watkins is a contributing writer for AccessMyLibrary.com . Best known for its large and diverse set of content, AML provides authoritative reference content as well as full-text magazine and newspaper articles - all courtesy of your local library and at no cost to you.
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