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​​​Success in School Issue12345

Bringing Harmony to Homework

It seems like children have more homework earlier in their school careers than we did at their age. And, with so many extracurricular events, athletic practices and other activities, it’s easy to see how homework can get pushed to the back burner and possibly forgotten.

While homework may seem like drudgery, studies show, and common sense supports, that studying at home can help improve a child’s performance in school. Here are some tips for helping your child get their homework done regularly and correctly:

  • Establish a central homework location, such as the kitchen table or a desk in your child’s room, where your child has everything they need to complete the assigned work (reference books, pencils, internet access, etc.).
  • Keep the area as quiet as possible during study time. This means no TV or other electronic distractions.
  • Set aside a specific amount of time for studying and homework each school night. For elementary school students, this is usually 30 to 45 minutes; for middle school students, it’s 45 to 75 minutes; and for high school students, it’s 60 to 90 minutes or more.
  • Make sure your children start study time on time. You can be somewhat flexible if an unforeseen situation arises, but it’s important that your children understand that homework is their responsibility and must be completed.
  • Divide study time into shorter periods for children who have difficulty concentrating. Brief breaks can help them concentrate when they return to their homework.
  • Schedule study time early. Your child is more likely to complete it if it’s scheduled before dinner or any leisure activities, such as watching TV or playing video games.
  • Always set aside a time for learning and reading. If your child says they don’t have homework that day, you should still have them use study time to read — even if it’s just a sports or fashion magazine. The idea is to make reading a lifelong habit.

Positive and Negative Consequences

As mentioned in earlier articles, it’s important to recognize, praise and sometimes even reward positive behavior, like completing the day’s homework assignments. This will help reinforce that positive behavior.

Conversely, if your child fails to complete assignments or brings home poor grades, be ready to take away privileges, such as access to smartphones, tablets and other electronic devices. Using them, after all, should be contingent upon your child following your house rules — which should include achieving acceptable academic performance. Other consequences might include not being able to hang out with friends or participate in school sports.

As we said earlier, experts find that giving praise four times for every negative consequence ​is a good rule of thumb. So, be sure to “catch them being good” and praise your children for positive behaviors.

Teaching Activity

Select Homework Rewards

Give your children planners in which they can write down information about homework assignments and upcoming tests. Ask their teachers to initial the planner every day at the end of each period to ensure that your children document their assignments correctly. Some schools now provide this information online, so you can check assignments to see if they match what your children have written in their planners.

Sit down with your children and identify rewards they would like to earn for completing their planners, bringing home all necessary materials, having teachers sign the planners, completing homework accurately and accomplishing goals. Behaviors ​​that earn rewards should be those that are currently the most difficult for your children.

Social Skill

Completing Homework

This skill is self-descriptive. It’s a simple five-step process that every child should follow in order to complete their homework correctly and on time:

  1. Find out at school what the day’s homework is for each subject.
  2. Remember to bring home necessary books or materials in order to complete your assignments.
  3. Get started on homework promptly or at the designated time.
  4. Complete all assignments accurately and neatly.
  5. Carefully store completed homework until the next school day.

Coming up in Issue 4

Establishing a Routine


Back-to-School Contract


Completing Tasks

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