Titan Talk

The Titan Talk blog gives the faculty and staff at St. Timothy's School a chance to post relevant information to our community. Feel free to leave comments or questions for our bloggers!

A Parent's Guide to Homework

The purpose of homework is to provide students with an opportunity to practice skills and demonstrate understanding of concepts without the support of others. With that said, most students need some support to learn how to DO homework, which includes following a schedule, managing time and developing study habits that allow students to be more independent in completing assignments. So, how do we do this and how much do we help?

Establishing a Routine

Students typically do best with a predictable schedule and consistent routine. Setting aside a specific time and space in which your child can complete homework is important. Each child is different and what works well for one child may not work well for others. Some children may work well at the kitchen table, away from the distraction of TV and toys, but close enough for you to keep your eye on them. Others may work well in a quiet, separate space, like a desk in a separate room. Some students may prefer to come home and finish homework right away, while others may need a snack or a chance to run around and play first. If your child is struggling to begin or complete homework, take a few days to monitor when and where your child is doing homework. Are there lots of distractions in the room? Does your child seem full of energy or tired at the time? Adjusting the homework routine may help your child to be more successful. If you have made adjustments and your child is still struggling to complete homework, inform your child's teacher so you can work together to come up with a plan.

How Much Do I Help?

If a student is struggling with understanding the directions of the assignment, parents should certainly help to read the directions and clarify questions. If questions become excessive or parents are unable to explain the assignment or skills needed, parents (or the student in middle school) should reach out to the teacher for support.

If you feel compelled to check over your child's homework for accuracy, I recommend that you mark problems or questions that are incorrect, but allow your child to attempt to find the errors and correct them independently. This strategy should only be used when there are just a few mistakes. If there are several errors, marking each one may lead to greater frustration or fear of failure. In these cases, it may be more beneficial to leave the errors, but make the teacher aware of your child's difficulty with the homework so extra review can be provided by the teacher.

Allowing your child to work as independently as possible on homework helps teachers to better monitor student progress, identify areas of mastery and areas for review. If you are working on a specific homework assignment with your child and he/she requires significant support from you to complete the task, it is important to let your child's teacher know. If teachers are unaware that parents have provided support, they may get a false sense of mastery and may be unaware of the student’s struggles.

In some cases (probably more often than you think), homework can become a very frustrating and negative experience at home. Various factors can contribute to this, but regardless of the cause, when this occurs it is important for parents to seek support from teachers. For more information on this, keep an eye out for my upcoming blog, What to Do When Homework Becomes a Battle!

Posted by Lindsay Behrens in Parent Guides on Thursday February 9
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