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The Benefits Of Helping Your Children With Homework 

Why should you help your children with their homework? Shouldn’t they be responsible for their own work? Shouldn’t you resist the urge to handhold your child? Shouldn’t they learn everything they need to know from their teachers during the school day?


Many parents today are unsure of what their appropriate role is when it comes to assisting their children with their homework assignments. The truth is, although you should not take total control of completing assignments, helping your child with homework and school projects is both good for your child academically, emotionally and developmentally. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Educational Research and Improvement, homework is not merely a chance for students to review the day’s lessons, ti is an opportunity to cultivate the parent-child relationship, build life skills, establish routine, and foster independence.

In addition to the positive effects on your individual child, helping your kids with their homework keeps you connected with your child’s school, your child’s teacher, and your child’s curriculum. I you are regularly involved in your child’s homework, report cards won’t catch you off guard and parent/teacher conferences can be more productive and in-depth.


What are the best strategies for successfully assisting your child with their homework?


  • Provide your child with a pleasant, distraction-free homework environment. Whether it is a desk in their bedroom, a kitchen table, or a lap desk in the living room, your children should have a quiet, appropriate place to concentrate on their work. Turn off the television, turn off your phone, and set a regular time each day to complete assignments.

  • Set a good example. One of the best ways to establish lifelong learning skills is to set a good example for your children. While your child studies, read a book in the same room, work on your family budge, or complete some work related to your job – but make sure your child knows that it is okay for them to interrupt you with a homework question.


  • Do a before and after check. At the beginning of a homework session, have your child share what the night’s assignments are. At the end of the session, review their work. After a few weeks, you should know about reoccurring assignments – spelling quizzes on Monday, social studies reading due Friday, etc. Encourage your child to keep0 a small notebook or calendar of assignments.


  • Don’t just give your child answers. Don’t complete your child’s assignments for them; ask them to think critically about how they can solve their problems. Feel free to re-explain concepts that they might have learned recently in school, but also encourage your children to look up information in their textbooks or solve a problem themselves.


  • Don’t be afraid of going off on a tangent. Helping your child with homework can also give them an opportunity to open up about other aspects of school and life – a bullying situation, a new interest or hobby, or any number of other topics. Don’t insist on keeping the topic on homework, use homework as an occasion to talk to your children generally about their daily lives and concerns.


  • Encourage healthy, independent study skills. If our child has an upcoming vocabulary quiz, teaching them how to make flashcards and test themselves. If they are writing an essay, show them how to make an outline. These study skills will help them become self-learners – and take some pressure off of you in the future!

Project Appleseed

What Is Homework?

Homework is defined as out-of-class tasks assigned to students as an extension or elaboration of classroom work. There are three types of homework: practice, preparation, and extension. Practice assignments reinforce newly acquired skills. For example, students who have just learned a new method of solving a mathematical problem should be given sample problems to complete on their own. Preparation assignments help students get ready for activities that will occur in the classroom. Students may, for example, be required to do background research on a topic to be discussed later in class. Extension assignments are frequently long-term continuing projects that parallel classwork. Students must apply previous learning to complete these assignments, which include science fair projects and term papers.


Why Is Homework Important?

Research in the last decade has begun to focus on the relationship between homework and student achievement and has greatly strengthened the case for homework. Although there are mixed findings about whether homework actually increases students' academic achievement, many teachers and parents agree that homework develops students' initiative and responsibility and fulfills the expectations of students, parents, and the public. Studies generally have found homework assignments to be most helpful if they are carefully planned by the teachers and have direct meaning to students.

Project Appleseed engages parent involvement in schools. How Can Parents Get Involved?

  • Share any concerns you may have regarding the amount or type of homework assigned with your child's teacher or principal.

  • Encourage your child to take notes concerning homework assignments in case questions arise later at home.

  • Provide a suitable study area and the necessary tools (for example, paper and books) to complete the homework assignments.

  • Limit after-school activities to allow time for both homework and family activities.

  • Monitor television viewing and establish a specific homework time.

  • Plan a homework schedule with your child. Allow for free time when assignments are completed.

  • Praise your child's efforts. If questions arise about the assignments, and your child asks for help, ask him or her questions or work through an example rather than simply providing the answer.

  • Younger children need more parental assistance with homework than older children. Go over homework assignments with your child. Do several problems or questions together, then observe your child doing the next one or two.

  • If your child is in elementary school, check completed assignments. At all levels, ask to look at homework once it has been marked and returned.

  • Ask your child's teachers about their homework policy and specific assignments.


How Much Time Should My Child Spend on Homework?

According to some researchers, two ways to increase students' opportunities to learn are to increase the amount of time that students have to learn and to expand the amount of content they receive. Homework assignments may foster both these goals. Reforms in education have called for increased homework, and as a result, reports show that students are completing considerably more homework than they did a decade ago.


According to statements by the National PTA, Project Appleseed and the National Education Association (NEA), the following amounts of homework are recommended:

  • From kindergarten to third grade, no more than 20 minutes per day.

  • From fourth to sixth grade, 20 to 40 minutes per day.

  • From seventh to twelfth grade, the recommended amount of time varies according to the type and number of subjects a student is taking. In general, college-bound students receive lengthier and more involved homework than students preparing to enter the workforce immediately after graduation.


Why Should Parents Be Concerned About a School Homework Policy?

  • Lack of an established homework policy may place either insufficient or unrealistic demands on your child. Students may not be expected to work to capacity; alternatively, they may receive too many assignments from different teachers on the same evening.

  • Schools with homework policies tend to set guidelines for teachers to correct, grade, and return homework systematically to their students, thus reinforcing learning.

  • Schools with homework policies generally provide specific guidelines regarding what is expected from parents.Schools with homework policies tend to carefully design and provide homework assignments appropriate to each grade level.

  • Students may not always view homework as a pleasant experience, but if the assignment serves a good purpose and parents reinforce the completion of the tasks, students will benefit by gaining higher grades, better study habits, and a more positive attitude toward school and learning. Homework assignments give parents insight into the school curriculum and offer a greater opportunity for student learning to occur.

Here are some resources for homework help for elementary, middle, and high school students and parents:

Elementary School:


Middle School:


High School:


It's also important to note that many schools offer homework help resources such as tutoring services and after-school programs, and your local library is a good place to start for additional resources.

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