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Homework: The Basics

Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD

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               and let us know how you find and use health information. Click here to start...Children are more successful in school when parents take an active interest in homework, according to a statement issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics. When parents show an interest in homework, children learn that what they do is important to their parents. Helping with homework can have many benefits for children. And who knows? Parents might even learn a thing or two!

How to Help

  • Get to know your child's teacher. Attend school events, such as parent-teacher conferences, to meet your child's teacher. Ask about his or her homework policy and how you should be involved.
  • Set up a homework-friendly area. Make sure your child has a well-lit place to complete homework. Place supplies - paper, pencils, glue, scissors - within reach.
  • Schedule a regular study time. Some children work best in the afternoon, following a snack and play period; others may prefer to wait until after dinner.
  • Keep the distractions to a minimum. This means no television, no loud music, and no phone calls. (Occasionally, though, a phone call to a classmate about an assignment could prove helpful.)
  • Make sure your child does his own work. Children will not learn if they don't think for themselves and make their own mistakes. Parents can make suggestions and help children with directions. Your child's job is to do the learning.
  • Get involved in your child's academic career. Ask him about assignments, quizzes, and tests. Check his completed homework, and make yourself available for his questions and concerns.
  • Set a good example. Does your child see you reading the newspaper, writing letters, or reading a book? Children are more likely to follow their parents' examples than their advice.
  • Praise his work and recognize his efforts. Stick his math assignment or art project on the refrigerator. Mention his achievements in science to relatives.
  • If your child has continuing problems with homework, talk with his teacher. It may be that he is having trouble seeing the board, or perhaps requires evaluation for a learning disorder or attention disorder.
Reviewed by: Steven Dowshen, MD
Date reviewed: May 2005