It’s important to hold your kids accountable for their homework

Homework hacks

How to motivate and assist your kids with their studies without taking over

“Just focus!” Homework for the kids can be just as hard for parents to manage as it is for the kids to complete. With these simple suggestions, you can take some of the work out of it for both of you.

1. Establish a regular homework time, if possible. Ideally kids should have a half hour of downtime after school before starting, but don’t leave it too late as they will continue to tire (and have a harder time focusing) as the evening goes on.
2. Provide a quiet space for them to work, out of range of other siblings, pets and media distractions. Stock the space with extra school supplies to avoid procrastination while searching for a pencil.
3. With younger kids, make sure they understand the homework first, but then leave them to it. Learning to work independently is an important skill. As they get older (past Grade 4, for example), make it their responsibility to tell you what they have to do, and again, leave them alone. Most schools work with an agenda process, which makes it easier for kids, teachers and parents.
4. Suppress the urge to correct your child’s homework. You could discuss a wrong answer and then explain the right one, but make sure your child understands why. Simply correcting kids’ work without their comprehension doesn’t allow the teacher to see where they’re struggling. And your child will rely on you to check it, making him or her feel less responsible for getting it right.
5. Allocate computer time if you have more than one child who will need to access it to complete their homework. Often homework is posted online and even submitted online.
6. Learning to “keyboard” is an important skill, so don’t automatically type up your child’s assignment for him or her on the
computer. Some teachers allow it, and if circumstances force you to do so, do it, but under no circumstances
should you correct grammar or spelling on your child’s behalf. That is for the child to do.
7. If kids are struggling and budget permits, look into getting a tutor. Often high school students
are available at a good rate to help with elementary kids. It takes the stress off of Mom and Dad after a busy work day, and many kids can be more amenable to getting help from older kids than from their parents.
8. Don’t try to teach them “your” way of doing math. They have to show their work and prove their answers in the curriculum-approved way.
Above all, your children are responsible for their homework. Teachers can easily tell when a parent has gone beyond supervision and into actual production on regular homework and special assignments like science projects. As I always tell my kids, “Hey, I passed Grade 7 math; this is your turn.” They don’t need to know I couldn’t pass it again today.


Kathy Buckworth is a mother of four and the author of I Am So the Boss of You: An 8-Step Guide to Giving Your Family the ‘Business.’

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