Homework – tips for parents
Consolidated from the United States Dept. of Education website.
Now that we are a few weeks into the school year, we are settling into some patterns. One of those patterns is regular homework. I recently consolidated some info on homework from the US Dept. of Ed website. At St. Joseph, we tend to follow these guidelines, but do keep in mind that there are projects that are spread out over time and those projects take additional time to complete in a quality fashion. It is important to keep up on extended projects – please work with your son/daughter on these as they are assigned or there will be stress in the home as you try to help them meet deadlines.
Here are some of the nuggets that I thought you might appreciate.
· Many national groups of teachers and parents suggest that homework for children in kindergarten through second grade is most effective at 10-20 minutes each day. In third through sixth grade, children can benefit from 30-60 minutes of homework per day. In seventh grade and beyond, students who complete more homework score better on standardized tests and earn better grades, on average, than do students who do less homework. The difference in test scores and grades between students who do more homework and those who do less increases as students move up through the grades.
· Reading at home is especially important for young children. Reading assignments across the grade levels might push the time on homework beyond the minutes suggested above. These recommendations are consistent with the conclusions reached by many studies on the effectiveness of homework.
· For young children, research shows that shorter and more frequent assignments may be more effective than longer but fewer assignments. This is because young children have short spans of attention and need to feel they have successfully completed a task.
· Research also shows that parent involvement can have either a positive or negative impact on the value of homework. Parent involvement can be used to speed up a child’s learning. Homework can involve parents in the school process. It can enhance parents’ appreciation of education. It can give them an opportunity to express positive attitudes about the value of success in school. But parent involvement may also interfere with learning. For example, parents can confuse children if the teaching techniques they use differ from those used in the classroom. Parent involvement in homework can turn into parent interference if parents complete tasks that the child is capable of completing alone.
· When mothers and fathers get involved with their children’s homework, communication between the school and family can improve. It can clarify for parents what is expected of students. It can give parents a firsthand idea of what students are learning and how well their child is doing in school.
· Research shows that if a child is having difficulty with homework, parents should become involved by paying close attention. They should expect more requests from teachers for their help. If a child is doing well in school, parents should consider shifting
their efforts to providing support for their child’s own choices about how to do homework. Parents should avoid interfering in the independent completion of assignments. Homework can be an effective way for students to improve their learning and for parents to communicate their appreciation of schooling. Because a great many things influence the impact of homework achievement, expectations for homework’s effects, especially in the earlier grades, must be realistic. Homework policies and practices should give teachers and parents the flexibility to take into account the unique needs and circumstances of their students/children. That way, they can maximize the positive effects of homework and minimize the negative one(s).
Some tips for homework:
✪ Make sure your child has a quiet, well-lit place to do homework. Avoid having your child do homework with the television on or in places with other distractions, such as people coming and going.
✪ Make sure the materials your child needs, such as paper, pencils and a dictionary, are available. Ask your child if special materials will be needed for some projects and get them in advance.
✪ Help your child with time management. Establish a set time each day for doing homework. Don‘t let your child leave homework until just before bedtime. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if the project involves getting together with classmates.
✪ Be positive about homework. Tell your child how important school is. The attitude you express about homework will be the attitude your child acquires.
✪ When your child does homework, you do homework. Show your child that the skills they are learning are related to things you do as an adult. If your child is reading, you read too. If your child is doing math, balance your checkbook.
✪ When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Giving answers means your child will not learn the material. Too much help teaches your child that when the going gets rough, someone will do the work for him or her.
✪ When the teacher asks that you play a role in homework, do it. Cooperate with the teacher. It shows your child that the school and home are a team. Follow the directions given by the teacher.
✪ If homework is meant to be done by your child alone, stay away. Too much parent involvement can prevent homework from having some positive effects. Homework is a great way for kids to develop independent, lifelong learning skills.
✪ Stay informed. Talk to your child‘s teacher. Make sure you know the purpose of homework and what your child‘s class rules are.
✪ Help your child figure out what is hard homework and what is easy homework. Have your child do the hard work first. This will mean he will be most alert when facing the biggest challenges. Easy material will seem to go fast when fatigue begins to set in.