Eleven tips for helping your kids tackle their homework assignments
PHOENIX — As kids settle back into the school year, it’s time for parents to begin bracing for the inevitable battle of keeping them on task while working on homework.
I asked Becky Kelbaugh, a spokeswoman at the Paradise Valley Unified School District, for her best tips to help kids complete their homework.
She gave me 11 ideas:
Take a break before you get started
Rather than diving straight into homework after an exhausting day, give your child 30 minutes to unwind enjoy a healthy snack and maybe stretch their legs after sitting all day. Especially helpful for younger children, the break allows them to avoid feeling attacked by homework routines the second they walk in the door.
Turn off the TV and music when your child is doing homework. Also, consider taking the cell phone or other mobile devices out of the room as text messages and email alerts can be very distracting.
Create a smart space
“I think one of the best tips is that you should provide a well-lit and quiet area for your child to do assignments and read,” Kelbaugh said.
When your child arrives home, ask if he or she needs any help getting started on assignments.
A time to conquer
Set aside a consistent time each day to study and complete homework. If your child attends an afterschool program, have him or her start homework there and check it at home.
Use a timer
By using a timer, you’ll keep your child on track with very little distraction. You can use a kitchen or cell phone timer.
If your child is easily distracted or gets frustrated, set the timer for 10 minutes to see how much work can be completed in that timeframe. If your child still has trouble with the assignment, provide assistance.
Utilize free resources
Before paying for a tutor, check our numerous free resources available, such as Free Resources for Online Student Tutoring.
FROST is a student-driven tutoring program that creates a casual, easy-to-use learning environment for students who need extra assistance with their academic subjects.
Qualified high school students are available to provide tutoring in any subject matter for any student from kindergarten to 12th grade.
Help without doing the homework
Offer assistance when your child needs it. If your child is having trouble with a math concept, help or find a YouTube video your child can view.
As a parent, you shouldn’t complete your child’s homework assignments. Plan ahead and make sure your child has enough time to complete bigger projects.
Check your child’s homework
It’s always a good idea to double check-work before it’s turned in.
“I check my child’s homework for accuracy before it’s due,” Kelbaugh said. “The problems that my child gets wrong, I ask her how she got that answer and walk me through the steps.”
Talk to your child’s teacher
At parent teacher conferences, clarify questions with grading policy and class expectations. Most teachers are also very willing to clarify project expectations through a quick email or phone call anytime during the semester.
Praise your child
When graded homework, classwork and tests are returned to your child, review the graded material together. If your child had a hard time with a particular concept, praise him or her on how well he or she did on the assignment.
Ask for help
“If your child is struggling academically, you should follow up with the teacher, have a conversation,” Kelbaugh said. “The teacher will be able to provide you with insights into what the problem may be and offer you valuable resources to help you out as a family.”
The sooner you ask for help, the better off your child will be in the long run.