As the kids head back to school, it’s hard to believe that homework should be foremost on parents’ minds. However, experts agree that the best way to prevent problems with homework later is to start the school year with clear expectations as well as procedures for how school work gets accomplished.
Parents should discuss school projects and homework with their kids as soon as school starts. Having an open discussion is important for kids of all ages as it lets them know that parents think school work is important and lets kids know what is expected of them. Parents should ensure that they know what they want from their kids and lay it out in age-appropriate terms.
Pre-school – Kinder
Parents should expect to be highly involved in homework with these age groups. This is also where parents can have the longest-term effects on homework success throughout schooling. Setting up a routine now will save hassles later.
Set a time when homework is done. Parents know if their kids need a break right after school or should do homework right away. Many parents allow a play time of about half an hour before beginning homework to let active younger kids let off some energy.
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Set a homework location. At this age many kids thrive when placed at the kitchen table where parents are working on dinner or other activities. Keep in mind though, that no matter the age group, having a quiet working location is extremely important for concentration.
Parents should expect to sit with children in this age group. Gently leading children through their homework can set a positive tone which will extend through the later school years. Kids in these ages need lots of help staying focused and on-task, but they should be able to actually do their homework assignments themselves.
From first through sixth grades, children should take more and more responsibility for their homework; however, that doesn’t mean they don’t need direction. Parents should still set the time and place where homework is done.
As kids advance, it may be acceptable to let kids set when and where they do their homework, within reason. Parents know their kids best, so parents should decide if they think their child will really get their homework done in their own room or if working at a monitored location like the kitchen table is still needed.
These grades are also receiving increased amounts of homework, so parents should keep a close eye on their children to ensure that they are budgeting their time and getting everything accomplished. Habits set now can lead to success in high school and college.
Middle and High School
These kids should be well on their way to being able to complete their homework without much assistance. However, as kids get more independence and parents are no longer in the homework loop, things can go wrong. This is when parents should be especially vigilant.
Many kids benefit from a return to strictly monitored homework locations especially at the start of the school year. Without parents watching everything they are doing, it is easy for teens to fall behind on homework and parents not know something is wrong until grades arrive in the mail.