By 4th grade our kids can handle homework on their own, right? The answer is ... they are getting there, but still need our help to ensure good academic work habits as they grow older. Here are some hints to help you, as parents, make sure homework time is stress-free and effective.
Hints from a Homework Hero
Hint for September:
There are 3 questions you should ask your homeworker every day.
1) What do you have for homework today? (hint: check my webpage if they are unsure)
2) Did you do your homework? (If they say "NO", make sure they get on it. If they say "YES", go to the next question.)
3) Can I see your homework? (Don't just assume it is done and done correctly. Take the opportunity to check their work & discuss it briefly.)
Hint for October:
Establish a routine
Make sure you set up the following (and stick to them whenever possible)
1) Have a location set aside for homework. The kitchen table is a great spot. Try to avoid the isolation of a bedroom if possible.
2) Make sure your student knows gets to work right when they get home from school. Grab a snack and get homeworking! The longer they wait, the less likely they are to finish.
3) Save TV & play time until they are done. Everyone needs to burn off some steam and relax; however, it should be the satisfying reward to a job well done!
4) Stick to the time & place as much as possible. It sets up those good habits that a student can manage themselves as they get older.
Hints for the Holidays (Nov. & Dec.)
Use a Priority List
The holidays are a busy time. Time management is a great homework helper. Give your student these tips to stay on top of homework during the holidays.
1) Write a priority list. List homework assignments by when they are due, or how much time they will take.
2) Work down that list. Cross things off as you go. Assignments due the next day come first.
3) Create a timeline for big projects. Help them figure out how much to do each day.
4) Homework comes first! If they have big events happening during the week, help them plan ahead.
Hints for March & April
Super Study Skills
Studying has to be learned. Never assume your student knows how. They also need your help to make sure their studying results in long-term memory. Here are some ways YOU can help:
1) Have your student create note cards - (even if they have a study sheet.) Have them put the fact or vocabulary word on one side. The details or definition go on the other. Just writing this will help them learn.
2) Flip side! Remind them when they study, don't just study one side. They need to be able to know the fact/word when the detail/definition is read AND vice versa. This makes sure it is not just rote memorization that will be gone when they wake up in the morning.
3) Make them quiz themselves before you quiz them. And ONE TIME IS NOT ENOUGH. They need to be quizzed several times leading up to the test.
4) Use picture vocabulary. If they can, have them draw a simple picture that represents the fact/word they are studying. Color helps cement it into their memory also.
5) Mix it up! Never quiz them in the exact order. Also, refer to the flip side rule. On some things ask them to give you the definition. On the next item, read the definition and ask them what vocabulary word goes with it.
6) Never wait until the last minute. Teach your student the value of studying often and getting an early start.