Teacher Tips for Parents - helping your child with homework

Check out all of Katie’s Teacher Tips for Parents

Helping Your Child with Homework: Setting

Set aside a time to work with your child as uninterrupted as possible. Making sure you have at least 30 minutes of concentrated time can make the task quicker and hopefully more peaceful. Find a spot that’s comfortable for both of you. If your child is restless, do homework at the kitchen counter and dance for 30-seconds when she gets one right or work through a difficult problem. Celebrate her success.

Use a timer if you need to or put up a “Homework in Progress” sign so your child will have your full attention. Turn off your phone and start the session with a quick check in with your child about what’s due now, what he needs help with, and what projects he needs items purchased or made for.

With this information, you can help your child prioritize his work, get homework packets organized, mark the family calendar with due dates, and start learning.

Helping Your Child with Homework: Writing

Writing is a tricky subject to help with because often parents “help” by actually doing the work for their child (fixing the punctuation, spelling, grammar, structure, etc.).  In some cases this is beneficial and the child can pick up on such “fixes” in the future; but more often than not, this actually isn’t allowing the child to use any learning or practice of his own.  One of the simplest ways to help with writing, and yes this transpires into other subjects as well, is to point out the number of corrections needed in a particular section, rather than telling your child what is wrong.  Let me explain more closely.

Say your child misspells five words in the short story he has written.  Rather than telling him which five words are misspelled, tell him the number of words that need to be fixed.  If your child is in the primary grades, or still completely stumped, you can start by telling your child what line the problematic word is on. If that isn’t enough, you may need to circle the words for him and allow the use of a dictionary.  You can use the same method for punctuation errors.

If your child struggles more with structure and missing/misuse of punctuation, have your child read the writing aloud.  This allows her to hear the mistakes when the sentence does not have a complete idea, or when a run-on sentence presents itself.  Tell your child there should be some punctuation when she hears a natural pause.

Writing Resources: Online Dictionary, Rhyming, and Student Thesaurus;

Helping Your Child with Homework: Math

These tips can be very useful when helping with math.  Take the time to go over math problems with your child when available.  Use a calculator to quickly determine the issues that need to be fixed and circle them.  (If you feel like making them work for it, don’t circle them and just tell the child how many need to be fixed on the page.  Be careful with this, it could frustrate your child and block the learning path as well as affiliate parents and homework as anger and could lead to less successful learning together in the future.)

Math Resources: Common Core for ParentsA Maths Dictionary for Kids 

Helping Your Child with Homework: Guide Them, Don’t Do it For Them

By implementing these simple practices during homework time, your child will have the opportunity to use her knowledge while receiving quality assistance from an adult.  These tips are not time-consuming, and your child’s teacher will thank you for the guidance at home without actually doing the work for them!

Do you have tips on how to help your child with homework?