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The ABC's of Homework

Homework From A to Z

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The ABC's of Homework
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A is for attitude. Approaching homework with a positive attitude and modeling sitting down to get a job done shows your child you think homework is important.

B is for break it up. Doing a lot of homework at once can be overwhelming.  Breaking it up into smaller chunks can ease that anxiety. Try a few math problems at a time or 15 minute increments.

C is for consistency. Setting up a homework spot and making ground rules about when homework needs to be done helps your child learn the importance of a consistent routine.

D is for distractions. Turning off the television, music or video games and minimizing other distractions is a must. Your child should be able to give his full attention to his homework.

E is for extension. Homework is given for three purposes: practice, preparation or to extension. Extension homework can include independent research, science projects and book reports.

F is for feedback. It’s not enough just to know your child has done her homework; you need to check it and provide feedback, too. Just remember to praise the positive and provide suggestions as to how to correct what’s wrong.

G is for guidance. When your child asks for homework help, your job is to guide him to find the answers, not do it for him. Try asking questions to check for understanding or have him explain where he’s stuck so you can figure it out together.

H is for habits. Homework is a way to help your child develop organizational skills and practice perseverance, two of many good homework habits that will serve him well in life.

I is for independent. Be nearby, but not on top of your child during homework time. She needs to learn to be independent enough to ask for help when she needs it.

J is for journal. If your child doesn’t already have an agenda or homework folder, encourage him to keep a homework journal outlining what he needs to do and when it’s due.

K is for keeping in touch. Sometimes homework is too hard for students or is a battle between parent and child. If you’re feeling as though there’s a problem, make sure to talk to the teacher about what’s going on.

L is for long-term projects. Long-term projects can be one of the hardest types of homework. Your child may initially need help coming up with a plan of attack and a timeline. Once that’s done, it’s up to her to keep up with the schedule.

M is for monitor. You don’t need to be right on top of your child during homework time, but you don’t want to be completely absent either. Stay close enough to monitor progress, the need for help and his frustration level.

N is for “not your homework.” Every parent wants to see his child succeed and produce good quality work. That doesn’t mean you should do the homework for your child. Her mistakes show where she’s having trouble, just as her successes show where she shines. Plus, teachers aren’t fooled by parent-led projects anyway!

O is for organization. Being organized for homework requires more than just having a space and a time in which to do it. Encourage your child to make sure he has all the tools he needs, replenishing or resharpening them at the end of every homework session.

P is for practice. Teachers assign homework to practice skills. Don’t assume just because your child knows what she’s doing means she shouldn’t be doing it.

Q is for questions. Don’t hesitate to ask the teacher about homework policies or work you or your child don’t understand.

R is for reinforce. Reinforcing skills is a little different than practicing them. Some skills build on each other, especially in math. Reinforcing one skill can make it easier to grasp another one.

S is for strategy. If your child has a lot of homework or is struggling, she may need some strategies to help her get through it all. Talk to her about ways you can help to make it easier for her.

T is for the ten minute rule. It’s recommended that students have no more than 10 minutes of homework per each year they are in school. That means second graders should only have about 20 minutes per day.

U is for unrealistic expectations. If your child has a learning disability, it may be unrealistic to expect him to do the same amount of homework as his peers. Talk to his teacher about reducing the load or providing alternative assignments.

V is for variety. In elementary school, you can expect to see a variety of different types of homework. Among them, you may see family projects, worksheets and reading logs.

W is for weekly plan. It often is helpful to put together a student planner and/or homework chart at the beginning of the week. Hang it in your child’s homework space so both of you can keep track of what’s done and what’s left.

X is for (e)xamples. If your child is having trouble with an assignment, try showing her how to do it instead of telling her. Some kids learn better by seeing things in action.

Y is for yelling. If homework time involves yelling,either on your part or your child’s, it may be time to consider using study buddies or a tutor. It can take the pressure off your relationship with your child.

Z is for homework zone. A homework zone can be a place and a state of mind. Getting in the zone, both physically and mentally,is the best way to get the most out of homework.

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