Homework Help Tips for Parents

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With school in session, many moms have more time. That trip to the gym is easier to squeeze in around a work schedule. The days are less stressful ... and then the kids come home and that means I’m on homework help duty.

[insert ominous music here]

The house that was quiet, the laundry that was folded, the e-mail that was half answered are all now a memory, because there are things that have to be done—homework! To be quite honest, I was not always a big fan of homework. I saw it as busy work the kids were required to complete at the expense of play. I have changed my mind a bit, and so has my approach to getting the work done.

  • Homework is the time that I can see how my child is learning. Sitting down and working through a few problems with him shows me what he has grasped and what he hasn’t grasped.That is where my approach to homework help has changed.
  • I have taken control over the areas that are still a struggle. At first, I was worried I wouldn’t teach it right or would confuse the issue, but jumping in and doing it has made me realize that my kids need my help—even if it isn’t exactly how the teacher would do it.
  • We spend the majority of our time on the struggle areas. When it comes to homework help, I tend to have them skip the stuff they seem to have mastered. When this happens, I will often just send a note to the teacher explaining why some things were left blank. In years of writing these notes, I have never had a teacher write back saying that it isn’t OK or penalize my child with a lower homework score for empty answer spaces.
  • On most days, homework help really looks like my checking in for a moment on a particularly challenging subject. Once in a while, it looks like a mini class on the kitchen table.
  • By checking in, I have also been able to determine when to bring in reinforcements. I have to admit, providing my kids with homework help isn’t always easy for me. On two occasions, the teaching was beyond what I had the skill or energy to do, so the kids went to tutoring to fill in the gap. The downside of this approach is that it takes time on my part. It isn’t always the easiest thing to fit into the family schedule!
  • The other issue that I have had was that my children aren’t always thrilled to have mom’s intervention.Whining about extra work and arguing that they already “know how to do it” has been a regular part of my experience.

Homework is work. There really is no easy way around that, but at least I know that it is all part of the big picture of filling their brains with knowledge. What does homework time look like at your house, and how do you get through it?

Written by: Holly Homer, Mom Minded blog, Sylvan Learning of West Michigan

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