Helping Your Child with Homework
The hours in a school day and the amount of time a teacher can spend individually with students are limited. As a result, teachers need the understanding and help of parents and families in supporting classroom instruction and learning outside school hours. Parents can lend this support by taking an interest in the homework that their children bring home and finding the most effective ways to help them with assignments.
Homework has been part of students' lives since the beginning of formal school in the United States. It is important because it can improve children's thinking and memory. It can help them develop positive study habits and skills that will serve them well throughout their lives. Homework also can encourage children to use time well, learn independently, and take responsibility for their work.
Helping children with homework has beneftis for parents and families as well. It can, for example, provide opportunities for parents to see what their children are learning in school and help families communicate with their children and school staff.
Why is Homework Important?
In the early grades, homework can help children develop strong study habits and positive attitudes. From third through sixth grades, small amounts of homework, gradually increased each year, may support improved academic achievement. In seventh grade and beyond, students who complete more homework score better on standardized tests and earn better grades, on average, than students who do less homework.
Homework helps students to:
- Review and practice what they have covered in class;
- Prepare for class the next day;
- Learn to use resources, such as libraries, reference materials, and websites;
- Explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits;
- Extend learning by applying skills they already have to new situations;
- Integrate their learning by applying many different skills to a single task, such as book reports or science projects; and
- Learn to manage time and meet deadlines.
Tips for Parents
You can do many things at home to show your child that you value education and homework, such as:
- Set a regular time and place for homework;
- Remove distractions;
- Provide supplies and identify resources; and
- Be interested in what your child is learning.
Communication with teachers is very important for helping your child with homework. Here are some important things to remember:
- Talk with each of your child's teachers early in the school year. Let teachers know that you want to be kept informed about what goes on at school.
- Contact teachers as soon as you suspect your child has a homework problem. Schools have a responsibility to keep you informed about your child's performance and behavior. Or, you may realize a problem exists before the teacher discovers it. Together, you can solve a problem in its early stages.
- Request a meeting with teachers to discuss homework problems. Tell teachers briefly why you want to meet, and make the arrangements.
- Let teachers know whether your child finds the assignments too hard or too easy.