How to Help with Homework

1) Provide a quiet, uncluttered area where the student can do there homework. The space should be free of distractions and interruptions. The sitting arrangements should be comfortable, with chairs and  tables at the appropriate height. Foot rests are helpful if the students feet cannot reach the floor.

Posture is important
Posture

2) Ensure that all materials and notebooks needed are available at the beginning of the session. Ask your child what they need. Use a visual template or checklist to check off that they have what they need: books, notebooks, textbooks, pencils, pens, erasers, highlighters, ruler, math tools, poster board, chart paper, note paper, reference materials, agenda, sticky notes.

Checklist

3) Does the student know where to find information? Is the chapter or page number of the textbook written down? Which questions must be answered, are the numbers written down or marked? Has the question sheet been taken home or available online?

4) Use a timer to give the student an idea of how long they have been working and how much time is left. Egg timers are helpful and your child can check how many minutes remain. If the assignment is a longer project stretching over several days or weeks, use a month calendar posted in a visible spot to track progress. Help your child break up long assignments into smaller tasks which are not overwhelming. Colour code these tasks and put coloured sticky notes as a reminder in the agenda. 

5) Ask your child if they have a model of the expected outcome, or are aware of what the teacher wants. Has the teacher indicated how will the work be graded or assessed. Does spelling count? Is the work legible? 
Does the paragraph contain details, examples to support the topic sentence? How many details and examples are required?
How long is the story/essay? What size font? What spacing?
Is the assignment typed or written by hand? Are there illustrations? How many?
Has your child included a title or heading and date  on any work or notebook to be handed in. Do the pages or notebook have the child’s name and subject on them?

6) If your child has dysgraphia, ask the teacher if you can scribe for your child where they dictate their thoughts to you and you write or type it for them. Ask your child’s teacher if there are pencil grips helpful for your child. Special paper with guidelines are useful in math and language.

7) Prepare ahead. Ask for a list of difficult words that are subject specific, e.g. science, geography, math terms that you can rehearse and practise reading and spelling with your child.

8) The agenda is an important tool for keeping track of work completion and assignments due. The agenda you purchase should have enough room in each day for the child to be able to write down homework for every subject. Take into account the child’s handwriting. Show the student how to use the agenda and highlight due dates or special events on the calendar, e.g. yellow for due dates or tests in language, blue for due dates or tests in math.

9) Always prepare the backpack in the evening, ready to go for the following day and left in the same place for pick up in the morning. Use a checklist to ensure it has all the needed materials and equipment:

  • homework: books, posters, textbooks, novel, worksheets
  • equipment: pens, pencils, math tools, ruler, sharpener, eraser, highlighters, sticky
  • notes, stapler
  • agenda
  • laptop, notepad
  • gym clothes, shoes
  • lunch and snack, high in protein, nutrients, fruit and vegetables, water

10) Adequate sleep. No digital equipment should be used at least 1 hour before bedtime. Instead your child can be read to or listen to an audiobook.