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Bright ideas from our readers: Homework help

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By GreatSchools Staff

Be Available

Many readers emphasized the importance of being available to help, even though it can be a challenge for a busy parent to carve out time every day to do so.

Make the kitchen table a homework center:

A Connecticut mother of two, ages 9 and 13, says talking to her children about homework is valuable for them - and for her. "I give my kids a snack with a drink while doing their homework. Also I sit at the table, discuss it with them. They like to share their homework with me and I also have learned from them ...When they have a test coming up in school we play a game out of their studying to make sure they know the material for the test..."

Do your own "homework" at the same time:

"I find that it is helpful to let my daughter have her snack after school, watch a little television and unwind from the long day before I have her start her homework," writes a single Arizona mom of a 7-year-old. "I also take time from my busy schedule to sit with her and either read or do my bills so that she understands it is quiet time. She doesn't feel so bad if she's not the only one concentrating on something. Believe me, not all days are so easy!"

Helping a child with ADD:

"My tips are certainly not new, but they have been very instrumental in helping my son with ADD do his homework," writes a mother who describes herself as a "military mom on the move." "We have learned that giving short breaks help along with allowing the child to pick what subject they want to tackle first. Giving your child options lets them feel more in control of their surroundings, which in turn creates a better work environment. This would be great for all kids, not just children who have a hard time focusing. I also recommend setting time aside for your child, in case they need help. I make sure I sit in the same room with my child and can get to him quickly when he gets frustrated or needs help.

"I also have a child who needs no help with homework. Don't take this for granted. Always ask what they are doing, if it is difficult and if they like a certain subject or not. This may help eliminate surprises when it is time for progress reports/ reports cards to be sent home."

Comments from readers

"I appreciate the useful information provided by this site but where is the insight from working (and single) parents? Really, an afternoon snack is not going be a practical solution to homework issues when you can't physically be with your child after school. I am sure in a perfect world we would all be "stay-at-home" moms (well, no actually a career is just as important for women) but I would suggest broadening your help articles to accommodate real working parents and to maintain a diverse audience base. "
"I have an 8th grader and a 4th grader. Our most important homework rule is: no TV, video games or gameboys from Mon-Thur. We have a busy after school schedule with sports, daycare (and Mom's at work until 4.30pm), so homework gets different time slots and venues every day, but it gets all done. "
"I am the mother of a 1st grade. and I would like to suggest, if the teacher can hand out home work everyday to student, because not all of the student had Internet or the parent's have time to look up thru Internet"