Parents want to know the best way to help their children with homework. While there are many Homework Helper Dos and Don'ts, three rules top the list. The following rules not only help students do tonight's homework, they help foster future independent learning. Our goal is independent and self-motivated students, isn't it? Right!
- Insist that your child- not you- read all directions. Do NOT do this for them. Reading the directions is crucial skill, and you want your child to establish this habit as early as possible. As both a teacher and a parent, I have been amazed at how often a child cries, “I don’t get it!” then reads the directions and says, “Oh! I get it!”
- Give your child some space. By this I mean: Do NOT sit right next to your child while he does his homework. “But, what if he needs me!” you’re wailing. Here’s the thing. If your child does not understand something, and you are two inches away, he’ll ask you to explain or solve it. If, however, you are in another room, he might try to figure it out himself. (Remember, we trying to raise independent learners!) While sitting next to your child makes you feel needed, the fact is you won’t always be able to do it. Be accessible, but show your child that you believe that he is capable of completing his own homework and solving most problems.
- Establish a routine and then stick to it. Homework right after school? After dinner? In the morning? Figure out what works best for your child’s Homework Personality, set up your schedule to support it, and move on. It’s like brushing teeth. Would you engage in a Big Debate if your daughter woke up and, “I don’t want to brush my teeth this morning. Can I brush them after school?” Of course you wouldn’t! Certain chores and activities take place at certain times of the day. End of story. Save the pleading and negotiating for something worthwhile- like another bowl of ice cream.
Stick to your guns and follow these three homework helper rules. You will be doing yourself and, more importantly, your children, a huge favor.