How to help your kids with their homework?

Are you a parent struggling with his/her kids to do their homework on daily basis? Do your kids say that they hate school because of homework? Do they consider homework a boring and daunting task?

Don’t worry! You are not alone in this! A large group of parents share this challenge!

One of the major struggles that parents have with their kids during their school life is doing their homework. Kids have the tendency to procrastinate or not to do their homework. Why do kids have this tendency to procrastinate or not to do their homework? How can parents deal with it?

Students have the tendency to procrastinate or not to do their homework for the following reasons:

  • Feeling Overwhelmed by the task at hand. Many kids constantly feel overwhelmed by their homework either due to the excessive amount of homework or due to its difficulty level. Some kids find the assigned homework boring as they have to practice and drill the same type of homework for many times. However, others may lack the understanding of the lesson concepts and consequently they will not be able to solve the related homework.
  • Poor time management skills. Students may lack time management skills. They may consider that Homework takes from their free time. Or it can be as simple as that they don’t know which homework they have to start with.
  • Meaningless and irrelevant homework. Kids don’t see the importance of doing the homework. If students realize the importance of doing the homework, they will feel compelled to do it.
  • Absence of adequate teachers’ feedback on students’ homework. Many teachers assign homework and solve them the other day with students in class without giving students a specific feedback on that homework. Adequate feedback helps students learn from their mistakes, inspires and motivates students to perform their homework and submit them on time.
  • Inappropriate home learning environment for kids to study and to do their homework.
  • Forgetting to do the assigned homework. This may be a reality even though many teachers doubt it! Think twice before you act!

Many studies correlate doing homework with good academic achievement and many don’t find homework an added value to the students’ academic life! I will not discuss this controversial issue here. I will merely concentrate on the indirect negative effect of not doing homework on the students’ physical health and academic achievement. Parents and teachers must realize that procrastinating and not doing homework has an alarming indirect impact on the kids’ academic achievement. In many cases, kids will feel worried for not doing their homework. Indirectly, this can cause frustration, anxiety and distrust feeling. Which in its turn has its negative effects on the students’ physical health and their academic achievement.

It is good to be aware that in the majority, students have their logic reasons for procrastinating and/or not doing their homework. Parents and teachers must guide and support students to overcome the challenges and benefit from the homework. Additionally, if students don’t have a logic reason, we must not forget that we are all humans who, by nature, like to do the easiest things and take a step back from doing the things that overwhelm us. Hence, parents and teachers must cooperate to help kids!

How can parents and teachers help kids with their homework?

Recommendations for Parents:

  • Plan and develop with your kids your family homework schedule. Let them decide and agree on the time they feel comfortable to do the Homework during the day. This will develop with time into homework schedule routine. Be sure that the other family members are not doing something more interesting like playing outside, watching TV …etc. You can make it your time to read a story, a magazine or do some boring home stuff close to your kid. Your kid must not feel that the homework is preventing him from spending nice time with others ..
  • Break Homework into chunks with a break between them. It’s good for kids to go outdoor and play before the second homework round if needed!
  • Ask your kids to estimate the time they need to do each homework. This will help them developing time management skill.
  • Ask your kids to share with you what is their homework about. Be sure that they are able to do it alone before you start with your own work. This is recommended for K to 6 grade.
  • Encourage them on the go. It is good to give your kids positive feedback if you see they have done the homework adequately in the specified time! Also, it is good to have homework weekly or monthly reward!
  • Don’t help your kids if they don’t need your help! And whenever you help them, be sure it is a minimal one. It is good to push them if you see that they are struggling. However, doing part of their homework will have its negative aspect on them. You can instead ask your kids to prepare a question to ask their teachers about it in class next day they go to school.
  • Create with your kids a homework station. Let them decorate it and display the homework schedule in the specified zone. We advice it to be a Technology free zone. However, these days technology is a part of your kids’ school life. You can agree with your kids to use your own device for their study to decrease the distractions. Or agree with them to have control over playing the games installed on their phones, if any, during homework-schedule time.
  • Encourage your kids to inform their teacher when you see together that the homework is not clear or if you see it is a boring repetitive one ! You can even call the school to inform them about this issue! In some cases teachers have to differentiate the homework according to the students’ level and learning style! Most teachers are aware of this and differentiate homework based on their students’ needs.
  • Set home consequences for procrastinating or not doing a homework. Agree with your kids on the consequences and apply them strictly when needed!
  • Be consistent in your follow up with your kids. Stick to the homework schedule and be sure that the kid perform them in the homework station. Again, don’t forget to apply the consequences when the kids violate the rules you put together!

On the other hand, many parents can’t help their kids with their homework for any of these reasons:

  • Busy parents. This group of parents can’t help their kids because they are unavailable during their kids’ study time. They may have work and/or they may be tired from the work and need to rest after work. This doesn’t eliminate the fact that kids need our attention and they must be a priority in our life. Hence, kids must notice our intention as parents of assuring that someone is helping them in their learning journey and compensate our absence during their study time.
  • Kids don’t accept parents’ help in their homework. Here kids can be of two types:
    • 1- Kids who feel they are able to do their homework by themselves without parent’s help. This group of kids seek independency and feel proud of their ability to finish their Hw by themselves.
    • 2- Kids who don’t need their parents to discover their points of weakness. They feel shy from their weakness! These kids discover their weakness while involved in class discussions and when they compare their level to their classmates. This group of students are smart students who has lacked behind due to uncontrolled circumstances like sickness or absenteeism during pandemic! These need attention from both parents and teachers!
    • 3- Kids who want to finish their work quickly regardless of the quality of the work they do. They just want to get rid from the duties without caring about their performance!

Parents for any of the above kids must inform school about the situation and cooperate for the best benefit of the student!

My recommendations for teachers for an effective homework are as simple and as meaningful as this acronym:

H High quality

O Ownership from students’ side

M Minimum possible time

E Extra practice to reinforce concepts/ Enhances skills /

W Worth the time spent to do it

O Objective well defined

R Reflect on the homework

K kids need your feedback on each homework

If we as teachers and parents stick to the above recommendations, I believe that the majority of our students will do their homework smoothly and successfully. Kids Flourish and give their best in a conducive learning environment.

Try our recommendations and enjoy Happy homework time!

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