When your child comes to you looking for help on their homework it can be easy as a parent to overstep and help them too much. Essentially doing your child’s homework for them will only hurt them in the long run. Children figuring out problems themselves and failing along the way is an important part of their growth. However, that doesn’t mean you don’t have to help at all. Our team at Education Unlimited recommends these strategies when helping your child out with their homework.
1. Create a Homework Routine
Your first step is figuring out a consistent time that you can sit down and work on homework together. While your child will ultimately say they never want to sit down and work, a little investigating will help you figure out what matters to them in their schedule. Avoiding homework time when a friend is available to play or when their favorite show is on will help them remain focused.
You should also decide if your child needs food or activity before working on homework. After sitting in class all day sometimes your child needs to run around to get the creative juices flowing again. Creating a homework routine will help develop your child’s work ethic and organizational abilities.
2. Determine Your Involvement Based Off Their Age
The younger your child is the more involved you should be during the homework process. As a parent, you should be more involved with young elementary school students who are still new to the concept of homework. When your child is this age, you should sit down with your child to review homework and devise a plan on how to tackle it.
Once your child reaches middle school, junior and senior high, you should have more of a backseat role when it comes to homework. It’s good to still be involved but only when called upon. Your role should be to help with the ‘big picture’ details on homework and projects.
3. Walk Away During Homework Time
It’s important that you don’t hover over your child while they’re working on their homework. Use homework time as an opportunity to cook dinner, work on chores around the house or send work emails. Be there when they need assistance but let them try to solve the problems on their own first.
This will help improve your child’s problem-solving skills and they will begin to rely on you less and less as time goes on. Your child will begin to try and solve more difficult problems by themselves before seeking your help. Make sure that you’re available to help but don’t let them rely on you.
4. Remind What Good Study Habits Look Like
It’s never to early to teach your child good study habits! Establishing good study habits early will help them as they progress throughout their educational career. Here are some of the study habits you should be teaching your child:
Pay attention in class – It all starts with paying attention in class. If they pay attention during lessons and taking notes, they’re already a step ahead
Take notes – Taking good notes will help make studying and homework so much easier
Plan for tests and projects – Last-minute studying or cramming can be stressful for every party involved. Planning out your projects make it much less stressful and more often than not increases the quality
Break the studying up – If your child is studying for a test, break the subject matter down into sections. This will help keep them focused and will ensure they understand a section before moving onto the next one
Encourage your child to ask for help – Make sure your child knows there is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the teacher for help if they’re confused
Get a good night rest – Getting a good nights sleep will help your child stay focused throughout the day
These study habits will stick with your child as they get older. While they may not need rigorous study sections when they’re in elementary school, they most certainly will when they reach higher grade levels. If they already have proper study habits instilled, they will be a step ahead.
5. Try Different Methods
No child learns the same. Your child might be a visual learner or they may be an auditory learner. Trying different study methods is a great way to learn what style works best for your child and it will also help keep them invested.
If your child excels at visual activities such as art and enjoys illustrations, they may be a visual learner. If they excel in musical activities or frequently sing or hum, they may be an auditory learner. Sometimes children are competitive and enjoy learning under the pretense of a game or a competition.
6. Get Help From The Teacher
It’s important that you communicate with your child that there’s nothing wrong with seeking assistance from their teacher. Your child and their teacher are a team and the only way they can succeed is through communication. Instead of always going to you when they need help with homework, urge them to seek help from their teacher.
The teacher can provide help and assistance that you can’t provide. You also have a relationship with your child’s teacher that is important to your child’s success. If you think your child is having a difficult time, reach out to the teacher and request that your child receives some one-on-one assistance.
The steps you take with your child early on will play a big role in how they develop as they advance in grade levels. Here at Education Unlimited, we offer academic summer camps and pre-college summer programs for students entering grades 4 through 12. We offer our camps and programs at university campuses in California and on the East Coast.