Homework and study skills
Homework is an integral part of schooling. Your children need your help in order to get the most out of their homework assignments.
Homework helps develop skills and reinforces classroom learning. Homework can also:
- Improve your child's thinking and memory;
- Help your child develop good study skills;
- Encourage your child to use time wisely;
- Teach your child to work independently; and
- Teach your child to take responsibility for his or her work.
Teachers assign homework to help your child:
- Review and practice classroom lessons;
- Get ready for the next day's class;
- Learn to use resources such as libraries, reference materials and the Internet;
- Explore subjects more fully than classroom time permits;
- Extend learning by applying skills to new situations; and
- Integrate learning by applying many different skills to a single task (for example, book reports or science projects).
When you help your child with his homework, you can:
- Find out what your child is learning and keep up with what's happening at school;
- Talk to your child about what he or she is learning; and
- Spark your child's enthusiasm for what he or she is learning.
How can I help with homework?
Show that you think education and homework are important. Create a good environment for doing homework:
- Set a regular time for homework. You will probably need some flexibility in the homework schedule to accommodate other activities such as sports or music lessons. If outside activities prevent your child from finishing his or her homework, he or she may need to drop one of these activities.
- Set up a quiet, well-lit homework area.
- Turn off the television and regulate social telephone calls.
- Provide essential supplies such as pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper and a dictionary. Also consider other supplies your child may need such as a stapler, paper clips, maps, a calculator, a pencil sharpener, tape, glue, paste, scissors, a ruler, index cards, a thesaurus and an almanac.
Help tie homework to everyday life:
- Show your children how what they learn in school applies to the adult world. Let them see you reading, writing, using math, and doing other things that require thought and effort. Talk to your children about what you do at work.
- Help your children use everyday routines to support what they are learning. Teach them to play word or math games. Help them look up information about something in which they are interested. Talk to your children about what they see and hear when you are together.
- Talk about school and learning activities in family conversations. Ask your children what was discussed in class that day.
- Look over completed assignments before your children turn them in and read the teacher's comments on graded homework.
How do I help my children develop good study habits?
Good study habits will benefit your children throughout their lives. You can help develop them if you:
- Don't do your children's homework. Your children will understand and use information better if they do their own homework. It will also boost their confidence in their own abilities.
- Help your children make a schedule to keep track of homework assignments and due dates.
- Help your children manage their time.
If a child is assigned a long-term project, discuss the steps needed
to complete it on time, including:
- Selecting a topic;
- Doing research;
- Identifying discussion questions;
- Drafting an outline;
- Writing a rough draft; and
- Revising and completing the final draft.
- Encourage your child to make a chart that shows how much time he or she expects to spend on each step.
- Help your children get started on research reports or other big assignments. Take them to the library and make sure they get help finding resources and using age-appropriate websites. After they have completed their research, ask them to tell you the main points they want to make in the report.
- Give practice tests.
- Help your child avoid last-minute studying.
- Talk to your children about how to take a test. Be sure he or she understands how important it is to read instructions carefully, keep track of time, and avoid spending too much time on any one question.