Research shows clearly that children are more likely to succeed in learning when their families actively support them. When family members read with their children, talk with their teachers, participate in school or other learning activities and help them with homework, they give children a tremendous advantage.
At the heart of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 is a promise to raise standards for all children and to help all children meet those standards. In support of this goal, President George W. Bush is committed to promoting the very best teaching programs. Well-trained teachers and instruction that is based on research, can bring the best teaching approaches and programs to all children and help to ensure that "no child is left behind." However, the hours in a school day are few and the time a teacher can spend with any one child is limited. Teachers need the understanding and help of families in supporting classroom instruction. One important way that families can lend this support is by taking an interest in the homework that their children bring home and by finding the most effective ways to help their children with that homework.
Homework has been part of students' lives since the beginning of formal schooling in the United States. It is important because it can improve children's thinking and memory. It can help them to develop positive study skills and habits that will serve them well throughout their lives. It can encourage them to use time well, to learn independently and to take responsibility for their work.
But helping children with their homework benefits families as well. It can, for example, be a way for families to learn more about what their children are learning in school and an opportunity for them to communicate both with their children and with teachers and principals.
Your interest in your children's education can spark their enthusiasm and lead them to understand that learning can be rewarding and is well worth the effort. We hope that you and your child find this booklet helpful.