Each September, it is adorable how my new 1st grade students can’t wait to start homework! The challenge for parents and teachers is to continue this enthusiasm and make a child’s time spent doing homework successful. Here are five simple ways that parents can support homework success.
Have a regular homework place and time. The place can be the kitchen table, a small desk, or any flat surface that works for your family. Determine if your child likes getting work done right after school, or if he needs time to play and unwind before starting. Try to maintain his time schedule as often as possible.
Provide adequate lighting.
Keep clutter to a minimum. Make sure the space has necessary tools, such as a pencil, eraser, crayons, scissors, and a glue stick. Keep the tools together in an easily accessible container. Return the container to the same place when finished each night. Have your child put completed homework into her backpack as soon as it’s done, so it always gets back to school the next day.
Eliminate distractions. Turn off the TV, video games, computers, cell phones, etc., so noises don’t cause your child to lose focus. If he doesn’t like it when it’s too quiet, try softly playing a classical CD while he works.
Work in small increments. If your child gets overwhelmed, try having her work with a timer in 2- to 3-minute increments, and then take a 1-minute break, until work is completed.
Homework is helpful for young students because it reinforces lessons that have been introduced during the school day. It also gives parents an indication of what, and how skills are being taught.
Most important, homework is a great way to develop responsibility and a sense of timeliness—life skills that promote success beyond the classroom!
Connie McCarthy is passionate about her work as a teacher of young children. She has devoted her entire career to making sure that her students do well at school, right from the start. Connie has an undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, and a Master’s Degree in Special Education. She has been teaching first grade in East Providence, R.I. for 23 years, where she received the distinction of “Highly Qualified Teacher” by the Rhode Island State Board of Regents. Connie also taught nursery school for four years, and published numerous articles on early education in East Bay Newspapers in Bristol, R.I. She’s also been published in PTO Today Magazine. She lives with her husband, Brian, and has a daughter and a son, both young adults. Connie enjoys reading, writing about elementary education, and taking long walks with friends. During summer vacations, she likes to travel with her husband. She also loves reading readers’ comments on her weekly blog posts.