Homework Help Tips

Help! My Kids Hate Homework

Is homework oftentimes a hassle in your household? Do your kids notoriously say, "I'll do it in a minute"? Do they complain that their homework is too hard or too boring? Do they leave homework until the last minute or leave the books they need for homework at school? If homework time is giving you a headache, you are not alone. Fortunately, there are many helpful homework tips that can smooth the rocky road and pave the way to homework success.

What is a Normal Homework Load?

More and more, kids and parents are complaining about what seems to be a growing homework workload. This demand on kids and their folks (especially working parents) can be excessive and hence the National Education Association (NEA) instituted the following homework time recommendations. If you think your child is being assigned too much homework, speak the teacher/principal about instituting a school homework policy that adheres to these guidelines:

Kindergarten to Grade 2: Should not exceed 10-20 minutes per school day

Grade 3 to Grade 6: 30 - 60 minutes/day

Junior & Senior High School: Amount varies by subject

Helping Kids with Homework

When it comes to helping your kids with their homework, how much is too much? While there is no set rule, keep in mind that your goal as a parent is to help them come up with the answer themselves. This might require guidance to the correct sources, exploring why your kid is frustrated or stuck, having them call a friend for help, hiring a tutor, or speaking to the teacher yourself. In addition, your praise, positive feedback, and good attitude toward homework will go a long way to making homework time with your kids a success.

Expert Homework Tips

Here are some homework tips from the experts:

1. Create a homework area for your child, free of distractions and conducive to your child's needs (i.e. an uncluttered desk, access to a computer/encyclopedia, a clock or watch to keep track of time, somewhere little brothers/sisters/TV/noise won't disturb them, etc.)

2. Establish a regular time for homework or a weekly homework-time schedule that takes into account extracurricular activities; try not to veer from this routine.

3. Help your child develop good study habits and time management skills, including writing down homework assignments in a "homework notebook" each day, bringing home the necessary homework materials, keeping a calendar of homework tasks and due dates, adhering to their homework-time schedule, planning ahead, prioritizing homework assignments, breaking a large task into smaller tasks, etc.

4. Have kids work as independently as possible, making sure to be available or close by in case they get stuck and need your help.

5. Praise kids for their homework efforts; showcase successful test marks/assignments on a bulletin board or the fridge.

6. Come with a number of coping strategies your kids can use when they get frustrated, flustered, or pressured by homework.

7. Use modern-day technology to help you and your kids with homework assignments, including computer software and educational games that further explain concepts taught at school and which provide an opportunity to further develop, practice, and solidify the skills and lessons learned.

8. Don't hesitate to seek addition help (i.e. private tutoring) if you and/or your child are in over your head or if you simply aren't free to help with homework. There are many professional and non-professional tutors who (at an affordable price) can help relieve homework headaches and help your kids' grades go up and stay up.

Mastering Homework Gives Kids a Sense of Mastery

Once children master the art of doing homework - that is, how to be organized, how to follow a schedule, how to effectively manage their time/workload, how to be responsible, how to work independently, how to ask for help appropriately, how to plan ahead, and how to succeed on tests/assignments - they not only benefit from a sense of mastery over school but from a sense of control over their lives in general and from a feeling of confidence that will follow and empower them in all of their endeavors.