Now that your kids are headed back to school, it’s worth remembering: what goes on in the classroom is important to your children’s development but so are the twilight hours at home helping them with their homework.
Whether they’re just starting school or teenagers, here are a few tips and tricks to help them learn better and ensure their academic success:
Time and place: Consistency is key when it comes to homework. Make sure they have a comfortable spot to concentrate on their studies, whether it’s the kitchen table or their bedroom but not so comfortable they snooze! Also, set aside a block of time an hour or two when they know you won’t distract them with the TV and they won’t distract themselves with their smartphone or games.
Be interested and available: They may not need help with everything, but take a look at what they’re working on and ask if they need help. Check up on them once or twice while they’re completing assignments but be discreet no one likes Mom or Dad breathing over their shoulder. Sometimes all that’s needed is calling out from the room next door. Once they’re done, however, check the assignment for errors.
Use examples: If they ask for help or you notice a problem, see if you can solve it using an example or situation that’s meaningful to them. Better yet, ask them what they think the right answer is sometimes they know but they’re afraid of being wrong. And if they’re not getting it, or you’re not able to help them, ask your partner or an older sibling for help, or email the teacher for suggestions. If you need a refresher on a particular topic, you can also check out some useful free resources from the Khan Academy here.
Be patient: Learning can be frustrating so make sure you don’t put too much pressure on them if they’re not getting it. Be helpful and encouraging and never make them feel like they’re slow or stupid.
Be aware: Help is always appreciated but make sure you don’t end up doing their homework for them or they’re just saying they understand because they think it’s what you want to hear. And again, if you notice they’re having trouble, flag it with their teacher.
What successes or failures have you had with helping your children do homework? How do you encourage them? Share your experiences with other members in the Shop Talk Blog community forum!
Did you know? Back to what?
If you’re in North America, Europe, or most of the Northern Hemisphere, back to school and September go hand in hand. In places like Australia, Brazil and Nigeria, summer vacation is in December/January so school starts in late January. And in Japan, the school year begins in April. (Source)