By Hattie Grace
Do any of these comments sound familiar to you? Or, maybe you have said them yourself. I sure have:
“I try to show them better ways to do her homework but they will not listen” “Their homework takes over the family”. “We can’t get control of it and it causes many arguments”. “I never thought my child’s homework could be so stressful”. If you can relate to any of these feelings, you are not alone. Everyday I speak with parents who feel that something is wrong. After all, homework is just homework and should not create such a hassle, right?
Homework is important. It affects achievement in school. Studies show that students who do homework in school perform better in school than those who do not. Homework teaches responsibility. For some children, homework is the first time they have a responsibility of their own. Homework teaches skills that children will need to become independent, motivated and successful adults. Such as following directions, beginning and completing tasks on their own, manage their time and working to their full potential.
Homework is the key link between home and school. Parental support and motivation are important factors in determining whether a child do well in school. Our children’s success is in our hands. The best schools are the ones that have the support of the families they serve. With this in mind, here are some tips on establishing a disciplined supportive learning environment in the home that will stop the struggling and the tears.
1. Homework must be done in a proper study area. It can be anywhere in the house as long as it is quiet, well lit, uninterrupted and where the child can concentrate.
2. Homework must be done on time. Children’s lives are busy too. They have sports, music lessons and other extracurricular activities. Homework must be scheduled into your child’s life like other activities. It should be at the top of the priority list. Make daily schedules and center other activities around homework time.
3. Children must do homework on their own. Let them know that they are expected to do their homework on their own. Let them know that you are there when they need you but they must try to solve the problem or answer the question first. Use the process of encouragement. Emphasize your confidence in their ability to do the job. Break down assignments into steps that the child can do successfully. Provide encouragement every time your children succeed.
4. Motivate them to do their best work. Consistently praise your child’s efforts. Tell them specifically what you like about what they are doing.
5. If they are not doing their homework. So, you have done all of these things— set up a study area, consistently got them started on time, encouraged them, consistently praised their efforts, and used incentives if necessary and they are still having problems getting serious about their work. It will take some time for children to develop a habit of taking responsibility to do work on their own. Consistency is the key. Our children know how to wear us down. Especially after a hard day at work. They need to know that you will not compromise and that homework is important and must be done.
6. Your Partner at School—The Teacher. Do not hesitate to contact your children’s teacher when they are having problems that you cannot help them with. Don’t be reluctant to contact the teacher. The teacher wants to know why children are having difficulties. When you form a partnership with the teacher, you are letting your children know that home and school are working together to help them succeed.
It is a new school year for our children to start all over again. They are in a new classroom. They have a new teacher with a new and challenging curriculum. So help them set and achieve new goals to do better than they did last school term.
Hattie Grace is the owner of Academic Excellence Tutoring Services. If you want to know more about the tutoring services offered, call 341-3170 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org