NEW YORK --One of the biggest lessons for parents of school-age children is learning how to handle homework, and how best to help their children meet academic challenges. Sometimes, parents think helping their child complete homework, or even doing their child's homework for him, will help him achieve better grades in school. Often, it's just the opposite, creating a situation where children have not learned the concepts they are later tested on in the classroom.Instead, parents should create a homework environment that is conducive to their child efficiently tackling school tasks. Richard E. Bavaria, Ph.D. and senior vice president for education outreach for Sylvan Learning, recommends the following tips to help parents develop a homework plan for school success:
- Set Goals. Help your child set attainable goals for each class and help her identify what will need to be done to reach each goal. For example, to get an A in American History she will need to turn in all her homework, participate in class, etc.
- Know Your Child.Because each child is special, with different learning styles and academic needs, it's important to personalize the learning process. Children learn in at least eight different ways, according to the Multiple Intelligences Theory: visually, verbally, physically, mathematically, musically, naturalistically, through group activity or through quiet thinking time. If you help your child work within his style, he will work more effectively.
- Create a Homework Zone.Set up an area in your home for studying, complete with a dictionary, paper and pens. Make sure the area is free from potential distractions and that study tools are at your child's fingertips to keep him focused on homework.
- Develop Class Files. Develop a color-coded file for each of your child's classes. Make separate tabs for homework assignments, exams and projects, so your child can refer back to class materials when studying for comprehensive tests.
- Set Weekly Milestones. For big projects or exams, get a large calendar for your child's desk area and help him set short timelines to ensure projects and studying aren't left until the last minute. Celebrate your child's success when each milestone is met.
By working with your child to develop a plan to efficiently complete homework tasks, you will find higher grades, fewer homework headaches and a more confident child as a result.