Making Headway with Homework

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Even if your child thinks homework is useless or stupid, it still has to be done. Fortunately, there are ways to help kids complete homework assignments — and give parents peace of mind.

First, don’t try to change your child’s opinion about the value of homework. Instead, acknowledge its very existence and concede this: “You do seem to have a lot of homework.  It seems that you don’t have any time for anything else.” When your child believes that you understand his or her perspective, he or she won’t consider you as an antagonist. That’s why we start not with speeches, but with listening. After you have established trust, here are some things to talk about:

  1. “I know you believe homework is stupid. But it exists. So, we must somehow do it.”
  2. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we could discover a way to get the homework done and still have some personal life left over?”
  3. “What if I could show you a way to cut your homework time in half?”

You may have to spend a little time selling this, but persevere because there are almost no kids who wouldn’t like an easier way to do things. What you have to do is help your child organize and learn how to do homework. Let’s begin with organization:

  1. Set up a study area in your home and stock it with all the tools needed for homework.
  2. Sit down with your child and a large calendar to analyze his or her commitments. Plot out all your child’s activities, lessons, sports, jobs and so on. This may reveal that your child is doing too much.
  3. Once you know the schedule, you can begin to plan certain times for homework every night. A good rule of thumb is 10 minutes of homework for every grade level. (For Grade 5: 10 X 5 = 50 minutes) Work with your child while you make this schedule. Don’t try to cut the number of homework hours down yet; that will come with practice. Simply plan for the number of hours currently being spent or the number of hours the teacher suggests.

Now, let us look at how to do homework. The most common problems are not knowing what to do or how to start. Begin by making sure that your child is able to determine what is needed to complete the assignment. Read through the directions with the child. Make sure he or she has all the tools to complete the assignment. Determine what skills are required to complete the assignment. Do one question with a child to ensure that he or she can complete the rest on his or her own. Decide how long the assignment should take. If it seems like it will take a long time, break the assignment down into manageable pieces. If you follow these simple rules, homework will be done faster, more accurately, and with less hassle for both parents and children.

About Oxford Learning:

Established in 1984, Oxford Learning goes beyond tutoring to help students reach their learning potential, not just for one grade or one year but for a lifetime. The unique programs teach children to learn how to learn.  Visit Oxford Learning online or call 306.790.2000 for complete program information.


Janet Klassen

Centre Director

Oxford Learning Regina

203-2595 Quance St. East