Being involved in your child’s education, especially in the formative years is incredibly important to their success.

If your child is having trouble getting their homework done on their own, or finding some particular subjects difficult, helping them learn good study habits and methods can correct problems and prevent new ones.

That said, the best ways to handle your child’s homework include:

1.      Try To Understand The Assignment First

In order to ensure you are as helpful as needed, you ought to first familiarize yourself with the assignment. Carefully read the instructions for a better understanding of what the teacher has asked them to do.

Make sure you study the material given to your child, not look up explanations online or try to solve it the way you think they did in your own time. You may end up discovering a different method or explanation than the teacher is using, and this can cause unnecessary confusion for your child.

2.      Help Your Child Understand The Homework Too

Have your child explain the assignment to you. After reading the instructions yourself, ask him/her to explain them to you in their own words.

This will help ensure that your child knows what they are being asked to do/what is expected of them by the teacher.

Ask questions to clarify instructions if you think it is necessary, as their answers will help you decide how much help they need.
If at first, they do not clearly understand, go over the lesson in the textbook with them.

Ask them to read out a section and then explain it in their own words.

You can also look at sample problems or writings together.

If the textbook offers some sample questions or essays, read over them with your child and make sure they understand how the instructor got to the answer given.

3.       Watch Out For Efforts, Not Perfection

When going over homework with your child, praise them for things they did well, especially if it indicates an improvement over past works.

For comprehension/summary assignments, you might say “Captivating introduction” or great narrative technique”.

Do not get exasperated if they continue having trouble with a problem or assignment.

Plus, punishing them for not understanding will likely cause them to stop asking for help.

Also, try not to always give away answers; instead, explain how to find them.

That’s how they’ll learn. Spoon-feeding won’t inspire them to put much effort into critical thinking, and you do not want that.

4.      Recommend A Short Break When They Get Stuck

If they are having trouble with a task, a short break may help them refresh and refocus.

Give them 10 minutes to do something fun or not-book-focused before trying to re-approach the issue or problem.

It’s best to give your child a break between school and homework.

As opposed to pushing them to get into their homework as soon as they get home from school, let them play freely or participate in an extracurricular activity before starting their homework.

Also, don’t keep trying to re-teach difficult concepts the same way.

If they are having trouble getting a grasp of a particular idea, repeating the same thing 7 times probably isn’t going to help.

Try showing them a different method of approaching the issue.

The trick, however, is that it might be confusing if the teacher has been teaching them with another method; but it’s worth the shot.

If the problem relates to your child’s learning style, you can try to reframe the information from a different perspective, and do your best to make the teacher know you did so and specifically why your child had trouble with the assignment as given.

5.      Establish A Consistent Homework Routine

Work with your child to determine what time they’ll prefer to attend to their homework each day.

In addition to other things, creating, and sticking to a routine will help your child become responsible for completing their homework independently.

For example, your child could do their homework at the dining table every day at 5 pm. Or, they may complete their homework in their room after dinner each night.

Consider getting a calendar or planner for them to write down their study time, a daily list of assignments, and any due dates, if applicable, for larger projects.

Also account for after-school activities or sports on the weekends, as well some days they might need to do homework at a different time to adjust for other activities.

Alternatively, you can try different times for studying at the beginning of the year, before homework gets heavy, to evaluate together when your child works best.

Perhaps they concentrate better after dinner than before, or they find it more impactful to do homework after 30 minutes after coming home from school, while lessons from the school day are still fresh on their mind.

It’s different with every child.

6.      Set Up An Effective Workspace

Most mums concur that younger kids work best at the dinner table while you are working nearby. Your older kids may need to be in a separate room at a desk.

Wherever it is, make sure they have all the materials needed to work (pencils, erasers, a sharpener, pens, paper, books, a dictionary, etc.), good lighting, and a comfortable (well, maybe not too comfortable) seat.

You may also find our article on: How Dads Can Be More Involved In Child’s Academics This Term

Also, eliminate distractions.

Ensure they put the TV and other screens off or don’t include one in the room where they will be working.

You can have a computer if they need one but set up parental checks to make sure they don’t get caught up in the internet. And yes, keep loud siblings away.

Especially for the sake of your older kids who may need a quieter space to study.

7.       Stay In Touch With The Teacher Throughout The Year

Attend parent-teacher gatherings.

Check in on your child’s progress monthly, quarterly, etc. If you’re ever in doubt of the value of an assignment or think the teacher might be assigning too much homework, speak up.

You’ll find that the teachers may not even realize how long an assignment will take.

Always plan for a parent-teacher meeting with a cooperative spirit and a solution or plan to address the issue.

If the teachers are not budging—the workload seems way too high, they don’t understand the problem, they won’t take responsibility for helping your child learn—make an appointment with the school’s principal to discuss it.

All the best mama

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