Wondering how to help your children with homework — or how to get them to do it without a struggle? Here’s how.
What’s the point of homework? “Homework is designed to help students reinforce key concepts, process and solidify new information, provide time for extra practice of skills, and reflect on how much they’ve learned,” notes teacher Susan Becker, M. Ed. However, approaches to homework vary from district to district, school to school and teacher to teacher. Some schools don’t give children homework until the 2nd grade, others start in kindergarten. Some teachers create original homework, while other use or modify prepared work sheets.
Don’t do the homework for your child. Most teachers use homework to find out what the child knows. They do not want parents doing their children’s homework but do want parents to make sure homework is completed and review any mistakes to see what can be learned from them.
Don’t take over your child’s projects. Teachers do not want parents doing their kids’ projects. Instead, they want parents to support their kids’ learning and make sure they have what they need to accomplish a task. Check with your child’s teacher for his policy and review it with your child.
Set up a good space to work. All children need the same thing: a clean, well-lit space. But keep in mind that each child may work differently; some will do their work at the kitchen table and others at their desks in their rooms.
Pay attention to your child’s rhythms and help him find the right time to begin his work. Some children will work best by doing homework right after school; others need a longer break and must run around before tackling the work. Most will need a snack. If your child does after-school activities, set a homework time before or after the activity, or after dinner. Whatever routine you choose, help your child stick to it.
Find out how your child studies best. “You should find the ways your child likes to study. For example, some kids will learn spelling words by writing them out, others by closing their eyes and picturing them and saying them aloud,” advises teacher Susan Becker, M. Ed. “The sound environment is also important,” adds Michael Thompson, Ph.D. “Some kids may want to listen to music, some are helped by being in the middle of noise, others need absolute quiet.”
Don’t hover — but stay close by. Keep in mind that it’s their homework, not yours, but remain available in case you are needed. “The ideal set up would be for a parent to be reading nearby while the child is studying because then you both are doing your educational work together, but that’s not always possible,” says Michael Thompson, Ph.D. “A parent may be working out of the home, or need to be working in the home and cooking dinner. So if you are home, stay close, and if you are not there, have another adult check to make sure it’s going OK. And remember that all homework is not equal, so not everything will need your rapt attention.”
Limit media exposure. Turn off the TV and the iPod when your child does homework. And the computer too, unless it’s being used for research. You might start by asking how much time he thinks he should spend on this, and negotiate from there. Remember, you have the final word. And keep in mind that if you watch TV when your child can’t, the plan may backfire.
Let the teacher know if you gave your child a lot of homework help. “If your child needs extra help or truly doesn’t understand something, let the teacher know. Write on the assignment, ‘done with parental help,’ or write a separate note,” advises Michael Thompson, Ph.D. If your child resists, explain that homework is used to practice what you know and to show the teacher what you need help learning more about — so it’s a parent’s job to let the teacher know.
Aside from the thousands of print materials available at McKinley Memorial Library, the library also offers a variety of on-line databases available to students to help with research projects and homework assignments. These databases are available from within the library or at home via the library’s website (you will need your library card and pin number to access databases from home). Visit the Research Databases page on the library’s website for a complete list of databases available.
The following websites offer valuable resources and links for Homework Help for Teens on a variety of subjects including Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, Music, Technology, Foreign Languages and more!
Internet Public Library for Teens
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Teen Homework Page
Los Angeles Public Library Teen Homework Help Page
Multnomah County Library Homework Center Page
The Kids on the Web: Homework Tools
The following list is of educational websites and on-line resources arranged by subject matter:
Back to top
Bright Storm Math—Offers video clips to help you with your Algebra, Calculus, Geometry and more.
Dr. Math—Have a math question? Ask Dr. Math for help!
Math is Fun.Com—Provides fun activities that takes the “work” out of Algebra, Calculus, and Trigonometry.
Math TV.com—Watch videos to get help with problems and equations in Basic Math, Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus.
S.O.S. Mathematics—This free resource provides math review material from Algebra to Differential Equations.
Back to top
Science for Kids.org—Explore the world of science on this educational and fun website.
Mad Scientist Library—This site offers links to a multitude of fun and educational websites on any field of science that you can think of.
Reeko’s Mad Scientist Lab—Offers free science experiments under a variety of science topics.
How Stuff Works.com—With Science articles, quizzes, games, videos and more, you’re bound to find the information you need here.
Science News for Kids—This youth edition of Science News Magazine is filled with articles, facts and more all related to science.
Back to top
CIA World Factbook—Provides information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities
United States Census Bureau State Facts for Students—Click on a state from the virtual map and find out history, statistics and more.
History Channel.com—Check out what happened this day in history or search for your topic to get related articles and information.
Philosophy Timeline—Offers a wealth of information regarding Western Philosophy throughout time.
Back to top
Teen Ink Writer’s Workshop Forums— Get advice about your written work, and comment on other teens’ work as well.
Internet Public Library’s A+ Research & Writing—High school and college students can get step by step instructions on how to conduct research and compose a paper from Table of Contents to Bibliography.
Guide to Grammar and Writing—This interactive on-line edition by Dr. Charles Darling will provide you with a ton of useful information and tips on grammar and writing.
BookRags.com—Find on-line summaries, plot analysis, and other information for students writing papers about books.
Back to top