Parents MY CHILD'S ACADEMIC SUCCESS
Questions Parents Ask About Schools
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Helping with Homework

How much homework should my child have?

    The difference in test scores and grades between children who do more homework and those who do less increases as they move up through the grades.
  • The right amount of homework depends on the age and skills of the child. National organizations of parents and teachers suggest that children in kindergarten through second grade can benefit from 10 to 20 minutes of homework each school day. In third through sixth grades, children can benefit from 30 to 60 minutes a school day.

  • Because reading at home is especially important for children, reading assignments can increase the amount of time spent on homework beyond the suggested amounts.

  • Notice how long it takes your child to complete assignments. Observe how he is spending his time-working hard, daydreaming, and getting up and down? This will help you prepare for a talk with the teacher.

  • If you are concerned that your child has either too much or too little homework, talk with his teacher and learn about homework policies and what is expected.

How should I help my child with homework?

  • Talk with your child's teacher about homework policies. Make sure you know the purpose of the homework assignments, how long they should take, and how the teacher wants you to be involved in helping your child complete them.

  • Agree with your child on a set time to do homework every day.

  • Make sure that your child has a consistent, well-lit, fairly quiet place to study and do homework. Encourage your child to study at a desk or table rather than on the floor or in an easy chair. Discourage distractions such as TV or calls from friends.

  • Make sure the materials needed to do assignments—papers, books, pencils, a dictionary, encyclopedia, computer—are available. Show your child how to use reference books or computer programs and appropriate Web sites. Ask your child to let you know if special materials are needed and have them ready in advance.

  • Talk with your child about assignments to see that she understands them.

  • When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Doing assignments for your child won't help him understand and use information or help him become confident in his own abilities.

  • Helping with homework can 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.
  • If you are unable to help your child with a subject, ask for help from a relative. Also see if the school, library or a community or religious organization can provide tutoring or homework help.

  • Check to see that your child has done all the work assigned. Sign the homework if your child's school requires this.

  • Watch for signs of frustration or failure. Let your child take a short break if she is having trouble keeping her mind on an assignment.

  • Reward progress. If your child has been successful in completing an assignment and is working hard, celebrate with a special event—reading a favorite story or playing a game together—to reinforce the positive effort.

  • Read the teacher's comments on assignments that are returned. If a problem comes up, arrange to meet with the teacher and work out a plan and a schedule to solve it.


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Last Modified: 08/26/2005