Have you ever been reprimanded by your child’s teacher for trying to help with math homework? The situation is often comical, but it can leave you wondering how you should help your kid. Even if your child is not coming to you with specific homework questions, there are many ways you can support your child’s learning.
6 Tips to Get You Started
1. Provide a designated study time.
With sports and other extracurricular activities, homework is often done in the car or in the evening when you and the kids are ready for bed. This may be necessary some days but try not to let it become routine.
Setting a designated time for homework will create an invaluable foundation for your child’s future study and work habits. Not to mention they will more easily learn and retain concepts being taught at school.
2. Be present and available.
The number of things that require a parent’s attention is dizzying. It can be easy to neglect the child who is focused on an assignment.
If your child is doing homework from the time they get home until bedtime, they may be silently struggling. The underlying problem could be an unidentified learning disability or issues with executive function skills. Being present and available will help you notice warning signs.
3. Practice makes EXCELLENCE.
Avoid critical remarks when your child makes a mistake. Do not expect perfection. I’ve encountered many parents who would require their kids to redo their homework over and over. These kids were in the third grade and younger.
If you aren’t sure what kind of academic expectations are realistic for your child’s age, have a conversation with their teacher. He or she can explain where they should be.
4. An encouraging attitude fosters learning.
An attitude of patience and confidence supports the learning process.
“I can see how hard you’re working” and “try again, you almost have it” will do a lot more good than a negative response.
5. Make it fun.
Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom. You can teach your kids to be lifelong learners by visiting museums, doing crafts or other stimulating activities. Help them explore, discover and be curious.
6. Identify the need for professional support.
If you suspect your student is falling behind, have a conversation with your child’s teacher. There are countless reasons a student may not be absorbing new material, from their location in the classroom to a learning disability.
In many cases, an educational tutor is beneficial. They can teach students new study techniques that are specific to their strengths and weaknesses.
I would be happy to discuss this topic this you in more detail. Please feel free to contact me.
This post was originally published January 3, 2018 and edited November 27, 2018.