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Once the school year is started and your child is getting homework, it can sometimes be a struggle for parents in different ways to get their child get their homework done:

  • The homework is too hard.
  • It’s a battle to get their child to actually DO the homework.
  • Homework? What homework? Their child isn’t even bringing the homework home!
  • Their child can’t focus after being in school all day to get homework done.

This homework help guide offers advice about how to help your child with homework on a nightly basis–whether it’s a battle you’re facing or a matter of helping your child focus, you will find tips with Homework Help 101!

Homework Help 101 A parent's guide to helping with homework

Before starting any homework help, make sure you have established some basics. You should have an established place your child completes homework. Your child should do homework at the same time everyday. Keep things low key while homework is going on.

Let’s take a look at some problems faced in many houses, just like yours and mine, every night when it comes to doing homework–and what can be done to make life a little bit easier! 

  • “My child can’t focus long enough to get the homework done.”
    It’s important to let your child take breaks doing homework. Let your child play, eat a snack, etc… As a teacher and parent, I like to make sure homework is done before any screen time happens at my house, but that doesn’t mean my kids can’t play when they first come home or even in the middle of doing homework. Try using a timer for a child who has a really hard time focusing. Set the timer for the number of minutes old they are–that’s the number of minutes they have to work on their homework. Then let them take a 10 minute break. The brain learns best when it’s not overloaded anyway! (Brain-Based Learning is neat if you’d like to read more about it)
  • “My child isn’t bringing any homework home.”Talk to your child about how you know there is homework to be done and you expect to see it daily. I am a believer in giving a child a chance to fix a mistake before running to the teacher. Therefore, I would tell your child, “You need to take responsibility for your homework. If you don’t start bringing your homework home tomorrow, I will have to contact your teacher.” After that, it is time to contact the teacher. Sometimes just contacting the teacher is all it takes for a child to bring homework home. Sometimes it takes the teacher and parent signing a homework notebook. Usually, once a child knows that a parent and teacher are communicating regularly, the child acts more responsibly. Read about how e-mail is an easy and effective way to communicate. 
  • “My child needs homework help. The homework is just too hard and I don’t understand the Math, either!” 

    Teachers are hearing this more and more, especially as students reach middle school and high school. Thankfully, there are many opportunities for homework help. Start by asking your child’s teacher if they have any homework help sessions. Some teachers meet with groups of students a couple times a week. If they don’t, usually the teacher can point you in the right direction for other help. In my city, the YMCA offers free tutoring that is done by students from a university. Sometimes, you do end up having to pay for a tutor. My advice to you is to find a teacher or college student before going to a tutoring center. You will have someone knowledgeable in their subject area, save so much money, have more flexibility and a more personal experience.

  • “It is a fight to get my child to do homework at all! HELP!”

    This is the worst battle to face when it comes to homework help. The method I suggest is simply a push and leave method. Sit your child down in their designated homework spot with their homework and a snack. Tell your child you will be back in 10 minutes and you expect them to have a set amount of work done. If they have that much done, they get a 10 minute break. If they don’t, you tell them, “I see you didn’t get that work done yet. I’ll be back again in 10 minutes to see how you’re doing.” Keeping your cool and leaving your child in “control” of when they get their break really helps to prevent a battle. Also, this gives your child the breaks mentioned earlier in this article that every child needs. A big mistake with the child who fights to get their homework done is that it becomes a battle both ways, with the parent and child both becoming so upset. If your child is younger, a motivational chart may also help.

Are you having any homework problems? Ask your homework help questions in the comments and I will be glad to offer more educator advice! Remember that your child’s teacher is the best person to go to for help if your child is really struggling.