Good Study Habits Begin at Home
Homework is a good thing
At times, it can seem like your child’s homework is endless and with all those other things to get done, helping your child complete this homework can seem like an impossible task. However, completing homework is an important part of your child’s education; it not only helps children practice what they are learning in the classroom, but it also encourages self-discipline and a sense of responsibility.
How you can help your child
- Take an interest in your child's homework. The American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement regarding a child’s increased success in school when parents take an active interest in homework. Your interest sends the message that not only is education important to you, but also that your child’s activities in general are important to you, and you are there to support your child.
- How much is too much? According to the U.S. Department of Education, children in first through third grade should not have more than about 20 minutes of homework each school day. The recommendation for children in fourth through sixth grades is about 20 to 40 minutes a school day, and for children in seventh through ninth grades the recommendation is up to 2 hours per school day. These are just recommendations and the amount of homework your child will have may vary greatly depending on the school and your child’s teacher(s). The best way to know how much homework to expect is to speak with your child’s teacher.
- Get to know your child's teacher. Attend parent-teacher conferences and ask the teacher about the homework policy and what your role should be in helping with your child’s homework as this may vary from teacher to teacher. Building this relationship with the teacher initially will be helpful if you have any questions or concerns throughout the school year about your child’s homework situation.
- Schedule in homework time. Although it can be difficult with your own and your child’s busy schedules, make sure homework time is part of your child’s daily routine. Try and find a regular study time each day that works the best for your child. By doing this, you are modeling good time management as well as sending the message that education is important.
- Find a homework-friendly area at home. This may differ depending on the age of your child or what type of homework he is doing. Ideally, this should be a relatively quiet place with plenty of light. In addition, help your child gather the necessary tools to complete his homework before he begins.
- Be available. How much you help your child with homework will depend on your child’s age, her teacher, and the assignment. Hovering over your child as she completes her homework may be distracting. However, assuring her that you are there if she needs you will let her know that you are there to support her.
- Encourage learning. Even when your child has free time, he can learn from his activities. Reading for pleasure, participating in an after school activity, visiting a museum, helping you with cooking or errands, or even watching an educational program on television are all things that help your child to learn outside the classroom and develop hobbies and interests.
This information was compiled by Sunindia Bhalla, and reviewed by the Program Staff of the Massachusetts Children’s Trust Fund.