Homework for Parents


As a parent, it's important for you to be involved in your child's education, and one way to do that is to help your child with homework. This may seem easier said than done...especially when your child would rather watch TV than do homework or if your child's math homework is too difficult for you to understand. However, helping your child with homework can teach him the most critical lesson of all—that learning is valuable and interesting and can be fun.

What's the best way to help your child with her homework?

You can encourage good study habits and model a positive attitude toward learning and problem solving for your child, even if you're not a whiz at history or science.

Set a schedule. Help your child choose a regular time for doing homework every night. When choosing a time, think about your child's after-school activities, your family's dinnertime, the time of day that your child is most alert and ready to work, etc.1 Also, make sure your child has a quiet spot to work with plenty of space and light.

Keep track of homework. Along with other school supplies, you may want to purchase a dry-erase calendar or a pegboard to help your child keep track of her assignments, especially long-term ones like science projects or book reports. You can teach your child how to divide up her workload and manage her time wisely.

Lend a hand. Help your child study for a test by quizzing him on the subject. If he is having trouble with a homework problem, go over the material with him and help him brainstorm ways to solve it. For larger projects, help him break the assignment down into manageable pieces or "chunks." If he's still having trouble, point him toward the library, the Internet, or other study resources. Or encourage him to seek extra help from his teacher.

Make sure, however, that you're not doing the homework for your child. By encouraging him to seek answers for himself, you help him develop problem-solving skills and get a good grasp of the material.

Know your child's learning style. Not all children learn the same way. For example, some learn more through reading and using language, while others learn more from looking at pictures. For example, learning certain math skills may be easier for your child if you draw a picture of a pizza. Some children have a mix of learning styles. If you know your child's learning style, it can help you explain homework problems to her in a way she can understand. This is also good information to share with her teachers.

Talk to teachers. Talk to your child's teachers at the beginning of each school year to find out what kind of homework you and your child can expect. If your child seems to have too much or too little homework, or if she is having trouble understanding her assignments, discuss this with her teachers.

Inspire a love of learning. Read aloud to your child; take her to libraries, museums, and historical sites; and encourage her to ask questions. Model a passion for learning…your child will pick up on it.