Here is the top 10 list of ways to win the homework battle and help your child do well in school…

1.  Schedule homework time at the same time every day or night and make it a part of your family routine. If your child has after school care, see if arrangements can be made to have the homework completed before pick-up time.

2.  Provide a table or desk area for your child to use as a homework area – the kitchen table works great.

3.  Eliminate distractions – that means mom and dad turn off the TV during homework time too. This is the single most difficult and important strategy for improving homework completion.

4.  Use a kitchen timer to monitor homework time. Twenty minutes is plenty for kindergarten and first grade. Second and third graders should spend thirty minutes a night and fourth and fifth graders will need forty-five minutes per night. If your child finishes homework before the timer rings have them read. Reading is one of the best ways to improve vocabulary and spelling skills.

5.  Allow your child to stand or kneel in a chair if this is the most comfortable and natural position for him/her.  Remember that he/she has had to sit in a desk all day already. Inflatable exercise balls make for a wonderful seat so your child can wiggle but stay on task.

6.  Be available to help your child, but do not do the work for him/her. Contact your child’s teacher if the work seems too difficult or your child is taking more than the recommended amount of time to finish assignments. Writing a note to the teacher on the assignment lets the teacher know that an attempt was made and your child needs additional help. Many teachers now offer the option of communicating through email; be sure to send a message if your child is struggling or if you need ideas on how to assist.

7.  Get the names and phone numbers or email addresses of at least three other families in the class so you can call them if you have questions on an assignment or concept that is on the homework page. This is also a great way to verify the often-heard, “But, I don’t have any homework.”

8.  If your child has difficulty focusing, let them listen to Mozart with a set of headphones. The soothing music often helps children focus and provides enough background noise for those that do not like complete silence.

9.  Write notes to the teacher on the homework sheet if you have questions or comments on a particular portion.  By signing the homework each night, you will know it has been completed and can see the progress your child is making. One easy way to make sure you are checking the work is to use a calendar to log that you have seen the completed homework. Working parents are often busy at night with housework and personal tasks and can easily overlook checking the homework unless a system is in place.

10.  MAKE SURE THE HOMEWORK IS IN THE FOLDER AND/OR BACKPACK AND IT GOES TO SCHOOL WITH YOUR CHILD EACH MORNING. There is nothing more frustrating that spending time helping your child with a tough assignment and then finding it on his/her bedroom floor the next morning after you have taken him/her to school.

Additional Resources

www.pasoschools.org – Many teachers in the Paso Robles Joint Unified School District maintain websites which list homework assignments and/or resources for students and parents.

www.sanmiguelschools.org – Links are provided for homework help on the San Miguel Joint Unified School District website so be sure to check it out.

www.tusd.ca.schoolloop.com – Find information and resources, including contact info for your child’s teacher, on this site for those in the Templeton Unified School District.

www.etcportal.org – The San Luis Obispo County Office of Education web-site offers parent resources as well as links to sites for homework help and research. Most students in grades 4 – 12 have a log-in that works from home.

www.edhelper.com – This on-line program offers worksheets (and answer keys) for all grades and subject areas.

www.algebra.com – This is a great site for parents and students with sample problems and solutions, lesson videos, and on-line homework help.

You Tube – Need help with 4th and 5th grade math? This popular video site has short clips of teachers doing lessons for you. Search the type of problem you need help with then choose from a menu of possible mini-lessons.

Khan Academy – Another great site for homework help and on-line practice; parents can set up their own account as well.

Homework without Tears by Lee Canter

How to Help Your Child with Homework by M. Radenich and J. Schumm