1. A place to work
All students need a quiet and clutter-free space to study. Help your child by clearing a spot at your dining room or kitchen table or at a desk in his or her room. When choosing the space, keep in mind that kids really need to spread out their materials. The space should be equipped with lots of pens, pencils, highlighters, paper (lined and plain), calculator, and a three-hole punch. Some families keep all of this stuff in a box, so that a “traveling office” can move with the student. It is also important that the study space have access to an outlet and the internet. During the study time, try to eliminate as much distraction as possible.
There should be a structure to study time. The specifics of this routine will vary from family to family and from student to student, but, in general, the study routine works best when it is consistent.
3. Technology Management
This is a tough one. The truth is that most students will need to use their computer for their homework every night. While a significant portion of assigned homework is reading and taking notes about that reading, many students choose to type notes on their computer. Teachers often ask students to view videos or read articles online and many teachers recommend online study tools like www.quizlet.com to use in place of flash cards. Your children will be on the computer a lot and, while it is impossible to monitor all computer use, it is most important that your expectations that the computer should be used for schoolwork during the study time are abundantly clear.
4. Help means help
Helping is not doing. It is perfectly fine to make a suggestion about word choice, but not to write or rewrite a paragraph. Working through one math problem with your child is reasonable, but doing the whole sheet is not. This really is not a gray area. If you think you are doing too much, you probably are.
5. Focus on the task, not performance
Doing homework is one important part of the learning process for your child and it shouldn’t be a time for judgment. It should be a time to complete the tasks assigned. One of the goals of homework is to encourage students to work within a time frame and, as a parent, one of the best things you can do while your child is working is simply to encourage and compliment his or her task completion.