Your child is gaining several simple skills each time she sits down to do work at home. All four will help her as she matures.
Responsibility. — The homework assignment is your child’s responsibility (not yours). When students assume responsibility for their homework and complete an assignment, it is only then that they learn to be accountable for their actions.
Time management. — Students complete their assignments or projects on time when they are organized. Turning the project in on time has it advantages because points are not deducted and your child won’t suffer consequences.
Perseverance. – Homework teaches kids how to deal with adversity. Your child can take pride in finishing an assignment regardless of difficulties or problems.
Self-esteem. — Completing homework in a timely manner will help your child develop trust and self-confidence. The inspiration to work harder on the next project occurs when kids feel good about their accomplishments.
9 How-to-Study Tips
Parents are team members on the homework front. You can create a positive atmosphere for your child by following these nine simple tips.
• Organization is a must. Get your child organized by developing a schedule for homework assignments, projects, and tests. Post all homework assignments and projects on a wall calendar (or the refrigerator, as I did) for easy viewing. Share your email address with teachers in order to stay up-to-date on important assignments, special projects, and tests. Check your school’s website regularly for homework updates. Also frequently check your child’s backpack for handouts and messages from the school.
• When your child does homework, you do homework. Show your child that the skills he is learning now are related to things you do later on as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too; if your child is doing math, balance your checkbook. In other words, work together in harmony and demonstrate as a parent how these new skills relate to adult duties and responsibilities.
• When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her. As parents, we always strive to teach honesty, integrity, and good character.
• When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher because it shows your child that the school and home are working jointly as a team, and follow the directions given by the teacher. Speak positively about your child’s school and never ever criticize the teacher or principal in front of the child.
• If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
• Stay informed. Talk with your child’s teacher weekly. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child’s class rules are. Additionally, a parent-teacher conference is an excellent time for important people in a student’s life to talk about how that student is doing in school, including conduct, grades, tests, and homework assignments. It’s an excellent opportunity for you to ask questions about the class or your child’s progress.
• Watch your child for signs of failure and frustration. Let your child take a short break if he is having trouble keeping his mind on an assignment, and provide plenty of positive reinforcements daily. Also, encourage your child when a task has been completed wrongly. While reprimanding him may be your first response, think carefully before acting. You’ll likely get better results if you provide love and support as you firmly, yet gently correct the issue.
• Reward progress in homework. If your child has been working hard or is successful in completing work, celebrate that success with a special event. Enjoy a pizza together, a walk, or a movie to reinforce positive effort.
• Pledge to spend quality time with your child. Yes, as parents we’re faced with financial challenges, underemployment, busy schedules, and other issues that can threaten family time. However, regardless of what you face, remember to spend some quality time with your children each day and ensure that proper “home-learning” takes place.
— Glenda Faye Pryor-Johnson is a retired Memphis City Schools counselor.
Looking for other homework stories? Read these:
The dog just ate all your excuses: A new study shows that homework may make students become better people.
Kids who do their homework diligently tend to be more conscientious than their peers, according to researchers at the University of Tübingen in Germany. After-school assignments don't just have academic effects—they also are linked to kids' motivation to do the right thing and work hard.
Related: Public Education in U.S. Threatened Under Betsy DeVos, Union Leader Says
"Our results show that homework is not only relevant for school performance, but also for personality development—provided that students put a lot of effort into their assignments," study author Richard Göllner said in a news release.
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Researchers drew their conclusions after examining roughly 2,800 students between fifth and eighth grades. At the beginning of every school year, the kids answered questions about whether they gave their best effort on their past 10 homework assignments in math and German. They then reported on how neat and diligent they believed themselves to be.
The study found that kids who said they took their homework seriously were more conscientious, and vice versa.
But how much homework teachers should give students is an age-old debate that's not letting up anytime soon. A Texas teacher went viral in 2016 after sending home a note to parents saying kids should spend their time after school playing outside or eating family dinner, not completing formal assignments. This past July, a superintendent in Marion County, Florida, announced that she was banning homework for all 20,000 elementary school students in her district and instead instructing kids to read for 20 minutes.
Expert conclusions on the subject vary. A 2006 study from Duke University found that older students who did their homework performed better on tests, but a 2014 analysis from Stanford University revealed that kids with too much homework were stressed and sleep-deprived.
"The jury is still out," Mollie Galloway, an associate professor of educational leadership at Lewis and Clark College, recently told the Monitor on Psychology. "There's a focus on assigning homework because [teachers] think it has these positive outcomes for study skills and habits. But we don't know for sure that's the case."
The results from Tübingen will likely only add fuel to the homework discussion. In the meantime, you might want to get out the flash cards.