Although they wouldn’t admit to it, a lot of parents hate homework just as much as their kids do. That’s partly because it can be a hassle getting students to focus on textbooks, reports, and quizzes. But, it also comes down to the fact that many adults didn’t enjoy school themselves, and may not be proficient in the subjects their kids are studying.
Despite all of this, helping your child to get ahead academically is a great way to position them for success in the rest of their lives. In other words, even if you hated homework, it’s a good idea to promote a healthy learning environment and help your kids with theirs.
Luckily, this doesn’t have to be as much of an arduous chore as it might seem. Here are a handful of tips you can follow to help your kids with homework they bring home from school:
Create a Calm, Quiet Place to Study
It can be hard for kids to concentrate under the best of conditions. Make things easier for them by eliminating distractions. Having a calm, quiet place to study is essential, and it’s even better if you can use the same spot (like the kitchen table, or a bedroom desk) night after night. This reinforces the idea that there is a time and place for learning, and can help make studying a habit.
Don’t Leave it Too Late
After giving your kids a chance to unwind when they get home from school, try to get them into the routine of finishing their homework early. Doing so teaches them an important lesson about responsibility, and also lets them get their schoolwork out of the way before they become too tired to pay attention… or you get too tired to help them.
Ask About Classes, Not Just Assignments
Lots of parents “help” with homework by looking at assignment sheets and making sure that their kids check-off the various items on the list. That’s certainly a good start, but with a few minutes of effort you can go further. Instead of just following up on assignments, find out what your kids have been learning in class, which topics they are being tested on, and whether there are any subjects they are having trouble with. This will make it easier for you to help them with their studies, and to identify any challenges your kids are facing at school before they fall too far behind.
Be a Student Again
Although this isn’t always a popular notion, it’s certainly easier to help your kids to succeed in school when you can check things like homework and practice sheets yourself. That may involve the occasional refresher on subjects like math and history. Don’t worry, though: as an adult you are allowed to “cheat” by relying on YouTube, online tutorials, and even TV or movies. You may be surprised at how quickly you can re-learn subjects like algebra, and what a difference it can make to your child if you help to do tough homework assignments right along with them.
Work Together With Your Kids
If you’re in the habit of bringing work home from the office, set aside time in the evening to be productive together. You can make progress on work-related emails and projects while they get through their homework. That way, you can ensure your kids are spending enough time on their schoolwork, you’re available for any questions they might have, and the two of you can spend a little bit of quiet time together.
When parents of kids help with homework, children see that education is a priority and are more apt to get good grades. So, remember these tips and you’ll be ready the next time your son or daughter comes home with a backpack full of papers and textbooks.