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By Novicki, Patty

September 17, 2015

There are many ways for parents to help with homework.  Here are some tips.

Elementary school

Check in: Students typically bring home a folder with homework and other information. Check it daily.

Read it out loud: Have your child read directions aloud because it forces them to slow down, letting the words sink in.

Put it on paper: When your child has to learn spelling words, have your child say the word, spell it and write it.

Say it before you write it: If your child has to read a story and then answer questions, ask the child first to tell you in his or her own words what happened in the story.

Help them show what they know: If your child is stumped by an assignment, ask your child questions about the topic. Often kids know more than they realize.

Try a sample: If your child is stumped by a math problem, have your child work through sample problems in the textbook. Those problems usually come with answers, so children can determine if they’re on the right track.

Middle school

Take a step back: Homework help should begin tapering off in middle school, but parents can still play a role.

Break it down: Students get more long-term projects, so encourage your child to break the project into pieces and set deadlines for each.

Get them organized: Encourage your child to create a weekly planner with assignment, tests dates and other school deadlines.

Urge them to take care of their own: Encourage your child to seek help from a teacher after class or school if the child is having difficulty with a subject. Students need to learn to become their own advocates.

Keep tabs on their progress: Schools often post grades online for parents. Check grades regularly to see if your child is on track or needs extra help.

High school

Take another step back: Parents should really pull back on help as students prepare for college, but there are ways to lend a hand.

Team building is good: Encourage your child to form a study group with classmates.

Extracurriculars are good, too: Encourage your child to join a school club that ties in with academic interests, such as the environment or literature.

Keep it casual: Find informal ways to stay plugged in with homework, such as a dinner table conversation about your student’s presentation for history class.

For any age

Enviroment is key: Provide a quiet space with good lighting. Younger kids might do best at the kitchen table where you can stay close, but teens might do best in their bedroom.

Structure is helpful: Schedule a regular study time. Some kids work best in the afternoon. Others may do better after dinner.

Deadlines are helpful, too: Set deadlines for getting homework done. Let older kids set their own.

Supply supplies: Make sure your child has paper, pencils and other materials.

Stay upbeat: Be positive about homework. Your child will pick up on your attitude.

Toe the line: When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.

Communicate: Remember that expectations can vary among teachers on the parental role with homework. If the teacher doesn’t communicate it, ask.

Sources: U.S. Department of Education; kidshealth.org; understood.org; scholastic.com

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