Speech Buddies Parents’ Corner – Homework Help
Summer is winding down and the backpacks are on the verge of being filled. If your child sometimes feels overwhelmed by homework there are ways to help reduce homework stress and increase academic success.
The Differences Between Homework and Studying
It can be easy to get wrapped up in which assignment from which folder is due on which day, but sometimes it is helpful to step back and consider the differences between homework and studying. Homework is often considered to be those things that are due – that will receive a concrete grade or point value for when returned to the classroom. Studying is the outside preparation that kids can do to help them perform better in the classroom and be more able to tackle homework effectively.
- Start by encouraging kids to bring home one subject each night that doesn’t have “homework” but that could benefit from some study time.
- Have your child read just 2 pages on that subject and put it away. Then ask your child to tell you about that topic later. Research shows that kids build memory maps when they read information and then later recall that information without the aids of notecards or highlighted text.
- Encourage your child to talk with you about the topic – drawing inferences that might not be presented in the actual material. Research also shows that when kids have to draw some of their own conclusions it helps their brain recall the information more effectively.
Reduce Homework Stress
Every child has a unique learning style and learning to have effective study habits is just one part of reducing homework headaches.
- Understand your child’s learning style. If you have a kinesthetic learner or a child with ADHD it might just about be impossible for him to think of sitting at a desk in his room to do homework after he has spent the day sitting in a desk at school. Toss a football with him while he studies his spelling words or work on a puzzle together while you quiz him on his math facts.
- Compromise with the electronics. Some children do learn more effectively when they can listen to music in the background and there are great apps and programs that help kids learn. However, electronics can also cause kids who are already struggling to lose their focus even more. Consider having your child work for 30 minutes on homework and then have a 10 minute technology break if that is what helps them unwind.
- Get to know school policies and your child’s teachers. Understanding these dynamics better helps you know the expectations for homework.
- Don’t be too much of a leader. Encourage your child to work independently and act only as a resource person, not as a task-master.
- Make sure there is a clear line of communication between school and home. Check to see if your child’s assignments are listed online or posted in a folder. Get a simple calendar for your child to use to record assignments each day.
More Tips to Reduce Homework Stress
- Assume your child has homework. Even 1st graders are often expected to read with parents each night. Instead of asking your child if he has homework, ask him which homework assignment he plans to do first.
- Make a place in the home for work. Use your child’s learning style to help create a place where homework can occur. If you have an auditory learner who is distracted by outside noises, make sure there is a quiet place for studying and consider invested in some noise cancelling headphones to help build a quieter environment.
- Take a break after school for a snack and some exercise. Recharging the body helps to recharge the brain.
- Break it into chunks. Have your child make a To-Do list of homework and studying and then plan ahead for how long each will probably take. They can cross off the list as they go and actually see their progress.
- Use a homework chart if it works to help keep your younger child on track every day.
You can reduce homework stress by becoming a partner with your child and the school. Although moms might worry about their tweens’ burgeoning acne, social problems, or even stinky, sweaty feet from gym class, these are the years when setting expectations and providing guidance for homework can make a great different for the future. Homework doesn’t have to bring a battle into your home if you plan ahead with your child and find ways to manage the time and effort needed to get it done.