Your Homework Help HOTLINE : Parent Involvement Strategies

HomeworkHelpHotline

My dog’s favorite snack is my homework.

Poems, stories, essays & even books have been written regarding the unhappiness homework can bring. Even those students who enjoy studying have “I HATE HOMEWORK!!!” moments.

“Why bother with it at all?” many ask ~ especially weary-from-work parents and work-weary school kids. 

“Boring TORTURE!!!” others will unanimously shout.

“Non-productive hogwash…” some scholars will mumble.

There are several “schools” of thought  concerning the purpose of this somewhat dreaded activity…. as an educator I see it from one side & as a parent I can understand another side….

With the exception of weekly spelling words, homework in the Primary grades is given as a review of content already taught in the classroom. Reading minutes with comprehension questions (writing) & math computation with several word problems are the usual  fare. However, sometimes “family” projects can be part of homework ~ think science  fair & social studies units.

Some teachers give weekly assignments on Monday and due on Friday. Some assign fun &  innovative alternatives, as well as choices. Some just require their students to read 20 minutes a night, period.

Project-based homework with longer formats are encouraged in the upper grades along with daily reviews. These require more “disciplined” efforts on the part of the students (and parents).

Depending on your child’s school district, campus & teacher, homework can vary from year-to-year & teacher-to-teacher. Most educators see it, not only as a form of communication with  the parents, but also, as a practice-prep for secondary & college study.

Whether seen as a necessary, or unnecessary part of a student’s learning & retention, homework remains ~ in most schools, anyway.

As a parent I tried several routine variations when scheduling homework time. Unless you have a child who plays “school” after coming home from school, getting the homework completed can be a challenge.

Here are some of the sequences I tried:

  • home, snack, timed outside play (had to chase him down, every time)
  • home, timed outside play, snack (reluctance, usually)
  • home, snack, timed TV or video game (wanted to go outside afterward)
  • home, snack, timed choice of the above (still an argument)
  • home, snack with some homework done, timed break with above choices, finish homework (troublesome)
  • total freedom with undone homework & teacher consequences (miserable for both of us)

Best bet for most successful outcome: home, snack while doing & completing homework, then, free time until dinner or dark ~ whichever came first. The daily 15-20 reading minutes most teachers require was usually done at night after bath & before bed. That was, also, the advice I gave my students’ parents. It works…..

I understand, as a parent, your child needs the Free Play. For some children, concentration on homework cannot happen unless this break is given. However, for my child, the work had to be done before the playing began.

There are rituals & routines you can put into place now with your kindergartner, so it becomes a habit and  not an option.

Setting

  • kitchen table while someone fixes dinner
  • spread out at the dining room table
  • at a desk, alone
  • on the floor 
  • on the couch with a lap-desk
  • music ~ yes/no; what kind

Sequence

  • works quietly & independently before needing a check
  • needs interactive study before working independently
  • intermittent study with short breaks

Study Skills

  • talks aloud to self
  • draws pictures, organizers, diagrams, charts
  • guess & check before detailed work
  • uses manipulatives to study

Responsibility

  • A planner/calendar should be with Homework Folder.
  • Assignments should be written down for each subject.
  • Materials needed for completion should be gathered & in place before starting homework.
  • Completed work should be placed into Homework Folder.

Participation

  • Check homework for accuracy & completion.
  • Work together on difficult assignments.
  • Help study for tests.
  • Make sure it is placed in the Homework Folder.
  • Have a specific place for the backpack.
  • Some teachers have a Homework Folder & a Take Home folder for teacher/parent correspondence. Check.
  • Some teachers post assignments & homework on the class website for you & yours to check out or review.
  • Talk about new & interesting content your child is learning.
  • Communicate with the teacher consistent difficulties your child may be experiencing with the homework content.
  • Let your child “teach” you about his homework.

My Two ~ Cents

  • Don’t allow your child’s homework to become a battleground.
  • Help him/her understand this is her/his “job” and s/he is  accountable for it.
  • Caution that sometimes failure is the only way to learn.
  • Use this opportunity as a cooperation in consequences.
  • Make this a time for dialogue & collaboration.
  • Celebrate the success that will come with his/her diligence & hard work.
  •  Keep at it and don’t give up ~ seriously…

So, in conclusion, I will say ~ EVERYONE has Homework !! Doing & completing (HA!) errands & chores; balancing the bankbook; part- time jobs; repairs & re-dos ~ the lists are endless, on-going, tedious  & part of life….

Hopefully,this Homework HOTLINE resource has some guidelines you  & yours can use. Let me hear from you with questions, concerns, comments.

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