There's an ongoing debate in education circles about whether homework is of benefit to students. Until that question is resolved, however, homework will continue to be a major part of each child's life from elementary school until graduation day.
As a parent, you can take steps to help your child with their homework. It may have been a long time since you've been in school, but helping doesn't mean doing it for them. It means creating a study space and checking in on them to assist. Your child will benefit the rest of their lives from good study skills that can be developed at home.
Whether your child is more comfortable at the kitchen table or in their bedroom, a good study area is very important. In general, younger children may prefer working in close proximity to a parent so that they can receive encouragement and praise while they work.
In addition to being comfortable, a good study area in the house will have three characteristics. First, it will have a ready supply of pens, pencils, and other necessities to make studying easy. Nothing is more disruptive than having to get up and go looking for supplies while trying to work. Keeping an area stocked with paper, pens, pencils, a calculator, a ruler, and a dictionary can make a huge difference.
Second, the area needs to be well-lit. Don't make your child struggle to see the material they are working on unless you plan on paying for glasses/contacts later on.
Finally, the area needs to be quiet. Children are learning how to be productive, so the area should be a TV-free, phone-free, video game-free area where it's quiet and encourages focus and attention on schoolwork.
When it comes to a computer, consider putting it in a common area, so that you can monitor how it is being used. Study time is exactly that, so place an emphasis on schoolwork versus chat, video games, or random Internet surfing. Your child's teacher can also recommend parental controls to better protect your children as they enter an online space.
When it comes to homework, the basic rule is don't do it for them. You are not there to complete assignments or hand out all the right answers. You are there as a guide. Answer questions. Go over the work when it's finished. Help them to understand instructions. Be supportive without taking over.
Think of a bowling alley. As a parent, you are the guardrails, helping the ball to not land in the gutter. But, you're not the ball. It's not your job to knock down the pins -- it's your job to help get the ball to the end of the lane.
When a child completes homework on their own, they develop confidence in their own ability to learn and a feeling of satisfaction that they can do things for themselves. Encourage these abilities and offer praise when they show that they can solve problems on their own.
Family Matters Law Group is a family law firm with extensive experience helping clients in Henry, Clayton, and Fayette counties achieve success. Don't hesitate to contact us if we can help with an ongoing legal issue.