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Homework Heaven


Q. It seems to me there are two extremes with homework: the "helicopter parent" who hovers and drives the kid crazy with nagging, or the neglectful parent who stays totally out of the monitoring process until the child is really in trouble academically. What's a good middle road that works?


Parents who are stressed out, working two jobs, or intimidated into a pile of goo by the sight of algebra problems are not likely to be tremendous homework cheerleaders for their children. In fact, they may think homework is hell. Here's a more heavenly approach:


n       Talk with your child about what makes a good work ethic.


n       Work together on an accountability plan that will discipline your child to do homework efficiently and well, and be rewarded with time and permission to do fun things.


n       Most schools distribute assignment notebooks even to grade-schoolers. That's a great monitoring tool. Use it!


n       Make sure there's a quiet place to study, equipped with pencils, pens, paper, a dictionary, other reference books, and a good study lamp. The child's own room is often not the best choice. Limit distractions and diversions.


n       Don't do your child's homework. Check it, but don't do it.


n       No TV until homework's done. Better yet, no TV on schoolnights. If your child's grades are good and you're happy with his or her progress, you can relax your restrictions a little.


n       Music on headphones and a TV in the place where your child studies are both very prevalent these days. But multitasking interferes with concentration. Talk with your child about the dangers of distraction, and the difficulty of concentrating when he or she flits between the homework and instant messengering, fiddling with the iPod, looking at the TV, etc. Those electronic toys may be OK when your child is doing lightweight projects, but not meat-and-potatoes studies such as memorizing chemical formulas and so forth.


n       Use homework as an early warning system. If your child consistently gets A's on homework but C's and D's on tests, or vice versa, something's wrong. Talk with the teacher.


n       If there is little or no homework assigned, errors are left uncorrected, or it's all too easy, you may have a schoolwide problem that the parents' group might take on.


Homework: Here's homework help for parents from the U.S. Department of Education:



By Susan Darst Williams Coaching Your Child 20 2008




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