Strategies for Supporting Homework
Check in with your children every day. Studies show that students who have parental assistance in completing homework spend more time on homework.
Establish clear routines
- Identify a location where homework will be done.
- Make sure children have all the materials needed to complete homework assignments (e.g., pencils, erasers, paper, dictionary, calculator).
- Decide on the best time to do homework (e.g., right after school, just before or after dinner).
- Make plans for completing homework (i.e., list all the tasks to be accomplished, identify when children will begin each task, and have your children estimate how long it will take to complete each task).
Supervise but don’t micromanage. Some children will need more help with homework than others, but a general rule of thumb is provide the minimum help necessary for the child to be successful.
Help children establish and maintain organizational systems. Help your children keep workspaces neat and set up systems to keep track of homework assignments.
Look for others to help. Homework can be time consuming for both parents and children. Parents may find it helpful to take turns supervising homework, alternating by nights or by subject matter.
Use incentives if necessary. For children who are not motivated by grades, parents may need to look for other rewards to help them get through their nightly homework routine.
Establish clear communication channels with teachers. For some students, this may take the form of a notebook going back and forth between home and school, or having both parents and teachers sign off on assignment books to ensure children are adequately supervised at home and at school.
Work with school personnel to establish necessary supports within the school. Parents alone cannot solve all homework problems. When students do not understand the assignment or lack the skills or knowledge to complete it, parents will have to reach out to teachers for assistance.
Adapted from: “Homework: A Guide for Parents” PEG DAWSON, EDD, NCSP, Seacoast Mental Health Center, Portsmouth, NH, Helping Children at Home and School II: Handouts for Families and Educators, NASP, 2004. The full handout is available online at www.nasponline.org/families.