Tips for Homework

by Deborah Godfrey

When it comes to homework and schoolwork, I am passionate about teaching kids responsibility and ownership.  One problem that often occurs is that the parent can be more "invested" than the children in schoolwork, homework and grades.  When this happens, the kids don't have to care because the parents do all the work.  I teach homework tips, from kindergarten on... ways to instill this responsibility and ownership.  Yes, we need to be involved and helpful, but the way we are involved matters very much in whether the child takes responsibility or not.  My favorite story of success in this area was with my daughter Michelle.

About a week before parent conferences, Michelle, then 9 years old, was saying that she didn’t want me to go to her conference. She would get really upset and say, "You can’t go! You’re not going!" I was stumped. I kept asking her why she didn’t want me to go and wondering what she had done that she didn’t want me to find out about! A couple of days before the conference, we were having our nightly bedtime chat and she suddenly said, "That’s not fair, you get to see my report card before I do!" I was speechless. I thought for a moment and realized that I have always taught my kids that their schoolwork is theirs. So this was HER effort, HER work, HER job and by gosh, HER grades! I said, "Michelle, you are absolutely RIGHT! I never thought about it before, but those are YOUR grades and I have no right to see them before you do! I’ll make sure your teacher lets you see them before me at conference, OK?" She nodded and triumphantly went to sleep. I didn’t get another complaint from her and she got to review her report card (with some hesitance from the teacher!) before I did. So here are some additional ideas for teaching your child ownership of his/her homework:

Homework Tips

  • Watch use of pronouns. Notice when you say, "We need to work on our homework." Be accurate and replace it with, "You need to work on your homework, would you like me to help you?"
  • When you offer to help, become clear about your role. Providing support means asking my child to read me the directions (or read the directions to her) until she figures out what she needs to do.
  • Ask questions. Questions encourage your child to think, "What do you think that means?", "How could you make that happen?" or "What do you need to do?”
  • Ask their opinion first. When your child brings you a graded paper, find out her feelings about it first. Look for signs of excitement or discouragement and make a comment, "You look proud" or "You look bummed".

As the school year starts, it's always a great time to start fresh, try something new and get on a better track.  I have a recording of a live workshop available called, "Taking the hassles Out Of Homework".  In this 83 minute workshop, you will learn the following:

Track One (8 minutes)

  • 11 Keys for Successful Homework
  • Why would a child have 5 hours of homework a night?  What can you do about it?
  • Your experience of homework and how that relates to your kids
  • At 6 minutes there is a 2 minutes visualization.  I suggest you listen to this portion of the MP3 when you are in a quiet place so that you can fully experience the exercise.

Track Two (54 minutes)

  • Participants share their experience
  • Suggestions on how to use your experience for the benefit of your children
  • What are the key factors for success during the elementary years?  During the middle school years?  In High School?
  • What can you do to create a hunger to learn in your children?
  • How can you help a failing child?
  • A mom in the workshop shares an example of the success of these ideas.
  • What statements do you make that can accidentally hurt your child regarding their schoolwork?
  • What statements can fix that and help motivate them in a way that works.
  • How to manage the pressure on children?
  • Key questions to ask your children to make them successful at their schoolwork?
  • What type of environment is best for creating a homework routine?
  • What are the questions you need to ask to make your children have the best learning environment for the learning style?
  • What are the questions you need to ask to really help them?
  • When should you seek outside help?
  • What was the best parenting advice an educational consultant gave me regarding my child’s sleep and schoolwork?
  • How do you balance helping vs. enabling them to be irresponsible?  What criteria can you use to determine when to let go and when to get involved?  It’s EASY!
  • A fun idea if your kids get all stressed out.
  • Help your child figure out how they can be successful.

Track Three (22  minutes)

  • Setting limits on your availability to teach them responsibility.
  • What is my job and what is the teacher’s job regarding homework?  You will be surprised at how easy your job as the parent is to be the most helpful to your child.
  • Learn ideas to not do too much for your kids.
  • Learn several ideas to help get kids through the homework when they get overwhelmed.
  • Learn several ways to understand what your children are trying to communicate when they are whining, giving up or fighting you about their homework.
  • How do your children’s roles in the family affect their success on school?

Don't wait!  Start the school year out with a new perspective, fresh ideas, and lots of tools to instill responsibility in your child's schoolwork and homework.  Purchase this workshop on MP3 now, and listen live to parents learning these tips and ideas.

Happy Parenting!


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