The school year has started and whether you’re divorced, separated, single, or happily married, we all want our children to succeed academically. In today’s society that means trying to ensure our children are successful in their homework. Whether your children are attending grammar school, middle school or high school, homework is a reality.Another reality is that many children need help in ensuring that they get their homework done. The following are some tips that may assist you in your household in ensuring that homework becomes a reality rather than a battle:
- Know the Teachers – And What They’re Looking For. Attend parent teacher conferences; monitor your children’s grades on the internet through Edline or through emails with their teachers. Educate yourself about each teacher’s homework policies and how you can best be involved;
- Don’t Let Your Kids Overextend Themselves. When children enter middle school and high school, they’re offered increasing and varied different activities in which to participate. Some children try to do them all. This is a good time to explain to your child that there is such a thing as “too much of a good thing.” Make sure that they have sufficient time to do their homework so that their extracurricular activities don’t take up so much time that they cannot be prepared to perform well academically;
- Set Up a Homework-Friendly Area in a Public Area at Home. Make sure the kids have a well-lit place to complete their homework in a public area. Keep supplies: paper, pencils, pens, glue, scissors, pads, and notepads – within reach. Having them study in a public area will make it easier for you to monitor to ensure that homework is being completed;
- Pick a Study Time and Stick With It. Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon, following a snack and break period; others perform better after dinner. No matter what your child's routine may be, make sure you have a regularly scheduled time each day for homework to be completed by your children and make sure they stick with it; consistency in this area will help produce success;
- Keep Distractions to a Minimum. This means no TV, no cellphones, no loud music, no phone calls, no iPads or computers unless it’s being used for homework. However, don’t be so rigid that you don’t permit a phone call to a classmate about an assignment or you don’t permit your child to go onto the computer to help complete an assignment;
- Make Sure Your Kids Do Their Own Work. They may try to get their siblings or friends to do their work for them. Our children won’t learn if they don’t think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help with directions. But it’s the kid’s jobs to do the homework.
- Be a Motivator and a Monitor. Ask about the assignments. When are quizzes and tests going to occur? And make sure that you and your child are aware of those dates. Give encouragement, check completed homework, and make yourself available for questions and concerns. Sometimes your child may need some assistance on a tough math problem or explaining what exactly the teacher is looking for. It’s okay to give explanations and help as long as the child is doing the work themselves;
- Set a Good Example. One of the prime directives of being a parent is setting a good example to your children by how you act. Do your children ever see you balancing the budget, reading a book, working on assignments given to you at your job? Children are more likely to follow their parents’ examples than their advice;
- Praise Work and Efforts. Post an aced test or an art project on the refrigerator. Mention academic achievements to relatives and to friends. Also be sure to praise effort. Not all efforts will result in A’s. But good consistent efforts need to be recognized also; and
- If There Are Continuing Problems with Homework or Academic Performance, Get Help. Talk about any issues with your child’s teacher. Some kids have trouble seeing the teacher’s postings on overhead projectors or the blackboard and may need glasses. Others may need an evaluation for a learning problem. Others may need additional tutoring. Be involved and get help when necessary.
The above list is not all inclusive and I am sure that many of you will be able to add to this list. In addition, some of these hints may not work in every household. As always in life, try out new ideas until you find the ones that successfully allow you to help your child succeed with homework. I wish you and your children the best of luck in their homework and academic success this year.
Board Certified Marital and Family Law Attorney Charles D. Jamieson understands that children and divorce are extremely sensitive and important issues. Thanks to extensive experience and a focus on open communication, Attorney Jamieson adeptly addresses the complex issues surrounding divorce while delivering excellent personal service. To discuss your divorce or other family law matter, please contact The Law Firm of Charles D. Jamieson, P.A. online or call 561-478-0312.