Helping kids with homework

January 27, 2010 3:41:28 PM PST
Homework is a fact of life when it comes to school, but balancing school, extra-curricular activities and homework can be difficult. In an exclusive Eyewitness News poll, we asked when it comes to homework do you think your children are given the right amount of homework?

26 percent said too much, 21 percent said not enough, but 52 percent said their children are given the right amount.

When asked how often your child asks for help with homework, 23 percent said almost always, 51 percent said sometimes, and 24 percent said almost never.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

But there are options out there for students and parents to help make sure the homework gets done.

For Daniel and Adriana Rodriguez, it sometimes feels likes their school day will never end.

"Most of the time I'm doing homework until maybe 8 p.m.,and I won't be able to do anything," says Daniel.

Adriana says sometimes she has 7 subjects to cover for homework.

Daniel and Adriana know there's not much use complaining because their parents have already laid down the law when it comes to homework.

"They're just told we have to go to work, this is your work," says their mom.

But it's never as simple as telling kids to do the homework. Parents have to put in the time. Mark Vallie is the president of New Jersey After Three, which provides a statewide network of free after school programs, including homework help. He says it all starts with parents getting involved.

"If a child sees how much parent values seeing their homework completed, the child will understand that is very important to their success," says Vallie.

Parents play humongous rolls in helping kids with homework, so every bit of encouragement parent could provide for kids is really critical for the child to understand wow mom and dad thinks this is important.

One suggestion is to create a work space with plenty of lighting and snacks.

"It's important for parents to define a place where a child does homework. It should be a place where there's enough quiet. You don't want middle of rec room where brother or sister are running around. You want a place where your child could concentrate," adds Vallie.

Set a specific time when kids should start their homework.

Vallie says "That's really important so there's expectation, at this time, you're going to be sitting down and getting your work done and it should not be right before bed time."

Parents can also seek help from outside sources. Many school districts offer afterschool programs that include tutoring, and local libraries can provide access to fee-based online-help such as for free.

But getting involved doesn't mean doing the homework for the kids. Parents should offer guidance, not answers.

If all else fails - a little bribery doesn't hurt.

"I think incentivizing homework completion is absolutely appropriate, whether tying to allowances or giving break on some chores, whatever it takes," adds Vallie.

For more on the Dial-A-Teacher program, go to