Necessary Homework

Necessary Homework
To help our children be successful at school they need to be successful with homework. According to the booklet, "Questions Parents Ask About Schools" provided by the U.S. Department of Education, kids who do assigned homework increase the gap between their own test scores and the grades of classmates who don't.

The booklet states, children in kindergarten through second grade benefit from 10 to 20 minutes of homework each school day. In third through sixth grades, children benefit from 30 to 60 minutes a day.

Parents can help kids achieve successful homework outcomes by following a few basic steps.

Talk with your child's teacher. There are parent/teacher meetings at the beginning of each term. The teacher lays out the homework requirements, detailing the purpose of the assignments, how long they should take, and how the teacher wishes you to be involved in helping your child. You can reach a teacher through the year with notes, emails, or in person. Teachers appreciate the contact.

Have a set time in place to do homework every day. You may need to experiment to find what time works best for your child. For your child’s benefit, homework time should be as quiet as possible. Let your child take a break when he is having trouble keeping his mind on his work. To help your child remain focused and content, the homework “area” should be stocked with pencils, paper, a sharpener, markers or what ever he may need to creatively attend to detail.

Check to see if your child has done all the work assigned. With the large classrooms and spread-thin teachers, homework helps you find areas where your child needs extra attention. When you are unable to help your child with a subject, see if the school can direct you to an older student or check your library for tutoring or homework help. If a problem comes up, contact the teacher to work out a plan and a schedule for solving it.

An added benefit of parents getting involved with homework is that they learn what their children are studying. It's a chance to talk with kids about the subject. Parents also get to stay abreast of changes and expectations in the curriculum, and have a better foundation from which to communicate with teachers.

If you maintain a good attitude about homework and the importance of doing a good and through job, your child is more likely to adopt a positive attitude about homework as well.

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This content was written by Paula Petrie. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Lisa Shea for details.