A Good Homework Environment

For many parents, helping their kids with homework can be a great learning and bonding experience. But for many others, going through just one math problem or reading assignment can reduce your child (and you!) to tears.

Give your child some great homework habits so that after-school tasks are a bit more bearable and maybe even fun for both of you. Here are some simple ways to help your kids manage their homework assignments at home without a struggle...

Break it Down

Kids don’t need to do all her homework at once. After sitting at school for seven hours, it's no wonder kids might battle back when required to do more right after school. Instead, choose one subject at a time to work on. Tackle assignments that your child enjoys first. Then, take a break until after dinner for the rest of the work. Organize big assignments, like essays or projects, into smaller parts so the work is more doable.

Discuss Assignments

Do you know what your child is learning in science? What about math? Chances are homework will give you some idea, but you should also talk to your child about what she's studying. By discussing school as part of your daily routine, homework will come more naturally. Take your child to the library and find books and DVDs that reinforce the lessons.

Create a Homework Zone

Set up an area in your home for studying, complete with a dictionary, paper, and pens. Make sure the area is free from potential distractions and that study tools are at your child's fingertips to keep him focused on homework.

Create Class Files

Develop a colour-coded file for each of your child's classes. Make separate tabs for homework assignments, tests, and projects, so your child can refer back to class materials when studying for comprehensive tests and exams.

Know Your Child

Are they a visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), or haptic (doing) learner? If you help your child work within his style, he will work more effectively.

Switch Roles

Have your child be the teacher and let her show you what she has learned. In the process, she might figure out that the answers to that question she'd been struggling with. Putting your child in the role of teacher can also help if you have several kids. Older siblings might enjoy a chance to show off their skills by helping little brothers or sisters understand concepts they've already mastered.

Getting Help

Some parents can be more patient going through assignments than others; some kids are more receptive than others so consider the personalities at play. Be aware and adjust when your approach isn't working. Consider checking an online resource or calling someone else in the class. When all else fails, hire a tutor or look at supplemental education options. Check with your local high school for students who can mentor.

Lastly, you should never do your child's homework. That doesn't help them learn. Sometimes, when a child hasn't done his homework, parents panic and step in. The lesson the child learns is, 'When I'm failing, my parents will bail me out.' Parents should check assignments regularly and make sure their child doesn't wait until the last minute to do them. Very young children may need guidance with assignments but you should encourage them to do as much as possible without your help.

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