How parents can help students manage their homework

January 29, 2015

Kid typically think homework is a drag. That's why getting them to do school work at home (and do it well) can be a struggle for parents. Truthfully, ensuring homework is done shouldn't rest entirely on parents' shoulders. Children must also learn responsibility. Here's some advice to help kids better manage the work they're given.

How parents can help students manage their homework

Set a timer

Instead of hovering over your child to make sure they get everything done correctly, consider a different approach:

Give your children adequate space and materials to do their homework, set a timer for an appropriate amount of time and then simply walk away.

  • If the homework isn't finished during the time allotted, it's probably for one of three reasons: your child didn't understand something, their teacher simply gave them too much homework or they mismanaged their time.

Whatever the case, have your children pack everything up and tell them to discuss it with their teacher in the morning. As unkind as this appears, it will help your child to learn about accountability and to communicate any issues that may arise.

  • You may provide your child with a few tangible points to discuss with his or her teacher, especially if it's a younger child.

In this scenario, if your child asks for help you should reasonably try to assist – but not complete – your child's work.

  • You don't want your children feeling as though they can't approach you for help at all. However, it's vital to find a balance and not "overdo" it to the detriment of their learning.

Dealing with the consequences

The next day when your child arrives at school with unfinished homework, they'll have to face the consequences.

  • If the child truly didn't understand the work or too much was assigned, then the teacher is going to have to work with him or her to explain it again or to adjust the amount of homework.
  • If it's simply a matter of mismanaged time, then the student will likely have to complete his or her homework during recess time.

If it was simply your child not making the most of his or her homework time, your child is not likely to make the same mistake again.

Get the teacher on board

As an advocate for your child, it's your responsibility to explain your approach to homework to your child's teacher.

  • If the teacher understands that you're trying to shift the onus of responsibility off of you and onto your child, they'll likely be in support of the process.

Remove the battle lines

Because you're not engaging in a battle with your children to finish their homework, you're opening up the door for some great discussions.

  • Putting the responsibility on your child teaches him or her about things like the importance of homework and time management.
  • It also builds self-esteem and gets them thinking about how they can apply in the future what they're learning in school.

With a little patience and a lot of communication, parents can work with their kids to put the responsibility of finishing homework where it belongs – on their children– in a positive and encouraging way.

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