Show You Think Education and Homework Are Important. Children are more eager to do homework if they know their parents care that it gets done.
•Set a regular time for homework. The best time is one that works for your child and your family.
•Pick a place to study that is fairly quiet and has lots of light. A desk is nice. But the kitchen table or a corner of the living room can work just fine.
•Help your child concentrate by turning off the TV and saying no to telephone calls during homework time. If you live in a small or noisy household, have all family members take part in a quiet activity during homework time. You may need to take a noisy toddler outside to play or into another room.
•Collect papers, books, pencils, and other things your child needs. Tell the teacher or school counselor or principal if you need help getting your child these things.
•Set a good example by reading and writing yourself. Your child learns what things are important by watching what you do. Encourage educational activities. Go on walks in the neighborhood, trips to the zoo, and encourage chores that teach responsibility.
•Read with your young child. This activity stimulates interest in reading and language and lays the foundation for your child's becoming a lifelong reader.
•Take your child to the library and encourage him to check out materials needed for homework. Talk about school and learning activities. Attend school activities, such as parent-teacher meetings and sports events.
2. Check on Your Child's Work.How closely you watch over homework will depend on the age of your child, how independent she is, and how well she does in school.
•Ask what the teacher expects. At the start of the school year, find out what kinds of assignments will be given and how the teacher wants you involved. Some teachers only want you to make sure the assignment is completed. Others want parents to go over the homework and point out mistakes.
•Check to see that assignments are started and finished on time. If you aren't home when the homework is finished, look it over when you get home.
•Monitor TV viewing and other activities. In most homes, more homework gets done when TV time is limited. See that things like choir or basketball don't take too much time. If homework isn't getting done, your child may need to drop an activity.
3. Provide Guidance.The basic rule in helping with homework is, "Don't do the assignment yourself. It's not your homework-it's your child's." Here are some things you can do to give guidance:
•Figure out how your child learns best. Knowing this makes it easier for you to help your child. For example, if your child learns things best when he can see them, draw a picture or a chart to help with some assignments. But if your child learns best when he can handle things, an apple cut four ways can help him learn fractions. If you've never thought about this learning style, observe your child. Check with the teacher if you aren't sure.
•Encourage good study habits. See that your child schedules enough time for assignments and makes his own practice tests at home before a test. When a big research report is coming up, encourage him to use the library.
•Talk about assignments and ask questions. This helps your child think through an assignment and break it into small, workable parts. For example, ask if she understands the assignment, whether she needs help with the work, and if her answer makes sense to her.
•Give praise. People of all ages like to be told when they have done a good job. And give helpful criticism when your child hasn't done his best work so that he can improve.
4. Talk With Someone at School If Problems Come Up.If homework problems do arise, everyone needs to work together to resolve them--the school, teachers, parents, and students.
•Call or meet with the teacher. For example, get in touch with the teacher if your child refuses to do assignments, or if you or your child can't understand the instructions, or if you can't help your child get organized to do the assignments.
•Believe that the school and the teacher want to help you and your child. Work together to fix or lessen the homework problem. Different problems require different solutions.