Helping with Homework
As a parent or caregiver, you play an important role in your child's academic achievement. By taking steps to get involved in your child's education, you can bridge the gap between home and school to ensure your child's success in learning and in life.
How much homework should my child have?
- The right amount of homework depends on the age and skills of the child. National organizations of parents and teachers suggest that children in kindergarten through second grade can benefit from 10 to 20 minutes of homework each school day. In third through sixth grades, children can benefit from 30 to 60 minutes a school day.
- Because reading at home is especially important for children, reading assignments can increase the amount of time spent on homework beyond the suggested amounts.
- Notice how long it takes your children to complete assignments. Observe how they are spending their time—working hard, daydreaming, or getting up and down? This will help you prepare for a talk with the teacher.
- If you are concerned that your children have either too much or too little homework, talk with their teacher and learn about homework policies and what is expected.
How should I help my child with homework?
- Talk with your child's teacher about homework policies. Make sure you know the purpose of the homework assignments, how long they should take, and how the teacher wants you to be involved in helping your child complete them.
- Agree with your child on a set time to do homework every day.
- Make sure that your child has a consistent, well-lit, fairly quiet place to study and do homework. Encourage your child to study at a desk or table rather than on the floor or in an easy chair. Discourage distractions such as television or calls from friends.
- Make sure the materials needed to do assignments—papers, books, pencils, a dictionary, encyclopedia, computer—are available. Show your child how to use reference books or computer programs and appropriate websites. Ask your child to let you know if special materials are needed and have them ready in advance.
- Talk with your child about assignments to see that they are understood.
- When your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers. Doing assignments for your children won't help them understand and use information or help them become confident in their own abilities.
- If you are unable to help your child with a subject, ask for help from a relative. Also see if the school, library, or a community or religious organization can provide tutoring or homework help.
- Check to see that your child has done all the work assigned. Sign the homework if your child's school requires this.
- Watch for signs of frustration or failure. Let your children take a short break if they are having trouble keeping their mind on an assignment.
- Reward progress. If your child has been successful in completing an assignment and is working hard, celebrate with a special event—reading a favorite story or playing a game together—to reinforce the positive effort.
- Read the teacher's comments on assignments that are returned. If a problem comes up, arrange to meet with the teacher and work out a plan and a schedule to solve it.
Source: U.S. Department of Education.