As parents, we want our children to succeed in school. While some students breeze through homework, others struggle. After a full day of work, school, and activities, homework can seem overwhelming to both students and parents, especially if a child is struggling. Here is our list of the Top 10 Ways you can Encourage Good Homework Habits for Elementary Students.
What is Homework?
Homework is work assigned by a teacher for students to complete outside the classroom. Often, homework assignments review what the student learned in school that day. It allows them to work on their skills. Homework also lets the parent see what their child is learning and how well they grasp the material. Assisting your child with homework is an excellent way to get involved in your child’s education. If you notice that your child’s homework is way too hard or too easy, contact their teacher to discuss further educational support and or opportunities.
As your child progresses, the homework will become more challenging. It is essential to encourage good homework habits to help your child become successful. We at Kids Play and Create took tips from various handouts from elementary school teachers. Here are our top picks:
1. Homework Time
It is essential to set up a regular time to complete homework assignments. This can be tricky for many families having after-school extracurricular activities, but it can be done. The first step is determining which time works best for your child. Does your child focus better right after school, or does your child need to unwind? Does your child prefer to complete assignments right after dinner or before bed? Some children are very early risers and choose to complete tasks in the morning. Once you figure out the best time, then make a schedule. It is OK if one of two days a week, it’s impossible to stick to school due to activities such as sports, karate, and dance. Write on a calendar what time homework time is. Keep the calendar somewhere where it is visible to the child. Try to keep the schedule the same every week. If 6 PM is excellent on Monday, Wednesdays and 7 PM works best for Tuesdays and Thursdays. That is OK; just time to keep it the same every week so it becomes a routine.
2. Keep Track of Assignments and Reading Logs
Most children need help staying organized. If your child’s teacher hands out a homework packet on Monday to be completed and handed in on Friday, make sure you designate a particular folder or location for that packet. Make sure that when your child completes their assignment, it is placed back in that folder or selected location.
Suppose your child’s teacher gives out daily assignments. Make sure that when your child is finished with their assignment, they place it back in their homework folder and backpack.
3. Special Homework Space
Designate a place in your home where your child can complete homework every night. Make sure the space is free of clutter and has ample lighting and a comfortable chair. If possible, make sure it is a quiet place.
Turn the t.v and radio off, and try not to talk or play on your cell phone while your child is working. Make homework time family time. It is an excellent opportunity for everyone in the family to read, complete work, or have quiet time. Just think how hard it will be for your young child to concentrate on homework if other family members are watching TV or playing video games.
4. Have Materials Ready
Please make sure you have everything your child needs ready for when they start doing assignments. This means having pencils sharpened, books to read picked out, and having anything else they need on hand and ready to go. This will make homework time flow easily. You don’t want to waste 20 minutes looking for a pencil or a pencil sharpener. Your child will start to get off task.
5. Go Over Assignments together
Before your child starts the assignment, talk about it before they start working. Make sure they understand the directions. Ask them questions about the assignment, such as Did you go over this in school today? When is this assignment due? Do you have everything you need to complete the assignment? Do you understand the directions?
6. Help, Don’t do the assignment for them
This is challenging for parents as sometimes it is easier to give them the answer than explain how to do it. Everyone has been there. “I know the answer, but how do I do it.” If your child’s teacher introduces new topics for homework, you may have to help your child closely.
If your child’s teacher gives them assignments to practice what they learned in school, you will want your child to work independently. Homework is a good way for the parent and teacher to grasp how well a child understands what is being taught. If you give your child the answers, then their teacher will not know if your child is struggling.
7. Check your Child’s Completed Homework
Check your child’s homework when it is completed. If you are not home when your child completes their homework, check it when you get home. Your child must know you are going to check their assignment thoroughly. If you are interested in their homework, they will most likely take an interest in it. You may correct work or discuss mistakes depending on your child’s teacher’s homework rules. Some teachers rather your child hand the homework in with the errors so they can see how well your child is grasping the work. Discuss the homework policy with your child’s teacher.
8. Check Graded Assignments
When your child gets home from school or when you get home from work, ask to see their graded homework. This will get your child into the routine of showing your work. This will allow you to praise a job well done and keep track of where your child is struggling.
9. Contact your Child’s Teacher with any Concerns
This is very important. Teachers are very supportive. If you have questions regarding your child’s progress, contact the teacher immediately. Many teachers use APS, such as Remind to stay in contact, and some teachers use e-mail and phone. Discuss your concerns and how you can work together to help your child. Tell the teacher whether your child’s homework is too hard or too easy. Are assignments taking too long to complete? Tell the teacher. You can also tell them how your child behaves when doing homework. It is a struggle for them to sit still, are they flat out refusing to complete the assignments? Tell the teacher.
10. Praise Good Work, Set a Good Example
Point out specific things your child does well or is making progress. Saying things like “your handwriting is really neat” or “You’re getting so good at writing” is better than just saying “good job.” Hang them up in places that everyone in the house can see. In our house, we have a section on the kitchen wall where all work is hung up. This will help boost your child’s confidence.
You can set a good example by reading every night. Read the newspaper, a book, or a magazine. Read together and separately. By reading every night, you will reinforce the importance of reading.