November, 2005

Help Your Child Academically take control

Your child may not realize it when it's 2 a.m. and she's memorizing the periodic table, but homework is a good thing. It helps your child:

practice what she has learned during the day
establish study habits that will be critical in college
prepare for her classes
get a sense of progress

Homework Tips

Set the Mood
Help your child create a good study area with all the resources he needs (for example, a dictionary). If you don't have a quiet place at home, he should try the school or local library.
Know Where to Begin
Your child should make a prioritized list of everything she needs to do, so she can't use "I don't know where to start" as an excuse. It's important not to over-schedule. Without some flexibility, your child will set herself up to fail.
Study at the Same Time Every Day
Even if your child doesn't have homework, he can use the time to review notes. If homework is something your child accepts as part of his day, he'll approach it with less dread. Plus, he will become a pro at using time productively.
Keep Things in Perspective
Your child should know how much weight each assignment or test carries, and use her time accordingly.
Get More Involved
Does your child ever feel like he can't stay awake to read something, let alone process it? To keep his mind from wandering, your child may want to take notes, underline sections, discuss topics with others, or relate his homework to what he is studying in another class.
Organize the Information
People process information in different ways. Some people like to draw pictures or charts to digest information, other people like to read out loud or make detailed outlines. Your child should try to find the best methods that work for her. She should ask her teacher for recommendations if she's experiencing any difficulty.
Take Advantage of Any Free Time
If your child has a study hall, or a long bus ride, he can use the time to review notes, prepare for an upcoming class, or start homework.
Studying with a Friend
Unless it's too distracting, your child may want to get together with friends and classmates to quiz herself, compare notes, and predict test questions. To you, this may seem like mostly a social time, but it can be very beneficial to your child to prepare for an assignment as part of a group.
Celebrate Your Child's Achievements
Reward your child for hitting milestones, or doing something well. You can provide treats or small rewards for your child while he is working on a big assignment. Your appreciation of your child's accomplishments in school is still very important to him, even though he may not always show it.
Communication Is Key
Keeping the lines of communication open will help to broaden your understanding of what teachers and counselors expect of your child and may help you to think of new ways to be supportive while still giving your child the independence that he's craving. It will also help you to understand how much time your child needs to allot for his homework, time that might take away from his participation in family activities or helping out around the house.
If your child has concerns about the amount or type of homework he has, he may want to talk to his teacher, adviser, or counselor. Encourage your child to ask for help if he needs it.