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10 Ways to Be the
Best Homework Helper!

homework help, homework

Please, take a good, long look at this picture. Do you see any homework helpers? Is Dad sitting next to this girl? Is Dad giving her the answers? Is there any crying, fighting, begging, cajoling?

NO!

Contrary to most media images, being a great homework helper does NOT mean:

  • Hovering- sitting next to your child while he does his homework. You don't even have to be in the same room!

  • Prompting- giving hints and answers.

  • Convincing- bribing your child to start and finish his homework, threatening him if he doesn't do it, promising him the world if he would just do it. What a waste of your time and energy. Plus, none of these things work in the long-run.

How to Be An
Effective Homework Helper

The best way to become an effective homework helper is to believe, understand and accept that your child's homework is NOT your homework! You are not responsible for explaining it, getting it done, or turning it in!

A good homework helper makes it possible for a student to become an independent, self-sufficient and highly motivated learner. That's what we all want for our children, right?

YES!

So, how do you do it?

First, the "Don't"s

1. Don't Hover

Parents tell me all of the time that their kids won't do their homework unless they- the parents- are sitting right next to them! This is preposterous! Do you think your child's teacher stands next to your child all day? Of course not! Your child can work independently at school and at home. You aren't going to college with him, are you? He needs to learn how to be an independent learner, remember? And, anyway, you have things to do!

If you have already gotten into this habit, slowly break it.

Tell your child, "Honey, I want to apologize for something." (Now, he's listening!) "I've been sitting here next to you while you do your homework like you can't do it on your own! I KNOW that you can do it without me sitting right here the whole time. Now, don't worry, I'll still be around if you need help. We'll take it one step at a time."

The first day, get up a few times while your child is doing his homework. When he sees that he can, in fact, do his homework without you right there, you can move on to staying in the room. After a few days, leave the room for a few minutes. Finally, you will be able to come and go as you please!

2. Don't Do It For Them

This is NOT your homework! It is your child's homework, and he should be the one doing it. If you believe that the homework is a waste of time, there is too much of it or he has simply had "enough"- then NO MORE HOMEWORK! (I'll show you how to deal with that below.)

I'll say it another way: either he does it or it doesn't get done. It is a bad, bad idea for your child to think that you will do his work and clean up his messes.

3. Don't Pretend You Know Everything

I am a pretty smart parent, but I am not an expert on every topic. Are you? It is okay to say, "I don't know!" In fact, children respect adults that can admit they don't know everything!

Teach your child how and where to find the information he needs or get him some regular help or maybe call a homework hotline.

4. Don't Let Your Past Experiences Affect Your Child Today

Okay, maybe you absolutely HATED science in school. Perhaps you suffered from test anxiety. Please keep your bad attitude and negative experiences to yourself. For all you know, your child may LOVE science one day or think tests are no problem.

Of course, if you found a way to overcome your science hatred or test anxiety, and/or you understand how your child feels, please share that.

Now, the "Do"s

5. Do Set Up A Homework-Friendly Home

Create a home environment that supports learning and studying!

6. Do Provide Materials, Tools & Supplies

Do your kids have everything they need to do their homework and projects? One way to make certain that you are a homework helper and not a homework doer is to provide your children with the supplies and reference materials they need!

7. Do Teach Them How to Study

Why don't they teach this subject in school? Oh, well, one more thing for parents to do! But, teaching your children how to study pays off again and again- in your life and theirs!

8. Do Let Them See You Study

"Do as I say, not as I do" never works, does it? If your children see you pick up a book, take a class and do some homework, look up a word in the dictionary- they might do it as well! At least, they might consider it!

9. Do Keep Homework in Perspective

Homework should be one, teeny-tiny part of learning, as far as I am concerned. You want your child to love learning and school- not come to hate the whole idea of education because they were forced to do too much homework.

Make a family decision about the role homework will play in your family's life.

Sometimes parents must...

10. Do Save Them

You know your children. You can tell when they are stressed-out, over-loaded and beginning to hate school (oh no!).

Protect them from Homework Overload: write a note to the teacher, be sure they go to bed, and let your children know that you have their best interests at heart.

You can be the best homework helper!

Find out what teachers say parents can do to help with school and learning.



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