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Gail S Hennessey's picture
Gail Skroback Hennessey taught for over 33 years, teaching sixth grade in all but two years. She earned a BA in early secondary education with a concentration in social studies and an MST in social...
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How do I get my son/daughter to do their homework?
As a teacher, you probably get this question often from parents.
Perhaps, the following might be of interest to you as a classroom teacher or parent.

Parents are an integral component in the success of their children in school and the issue of homework is a perfect example of this. As the parent, you must make school and doing homework a top priority in the course of a day, over sporting practice, lessons, etc. I like to think of the issue of homework with PRAISE ..

1. Have a PLACE for your son/daughter to do their homework. It should be a central area(ie-kitchen if you are making dinner) and not a bedroom away from your supervision where they perhaps have a computer, TV, telephone, CD player, etc . to distract them from successfully completing their task.
2. Establish a ROUTINE, an established time when homework is to be done. Personally, I think young people need a break after school to unwind so I think starting about 5 might be good(before dinner). This routine time should be kept even on "no homework days". Use the time like a study hall at home where they could read for the time, do research on the computer on a topic of interest, write you a letter explaining things covered in class during the day,etc.
3. Have a positive ATTITUDE toward school as the parent. Even if you yourself didn't have a positive experience toward school, you as the parent must foster a positive attitude so kids pick up positive vibes from you. If your son/daughter thinks YOU don't value school and the homework that goes with it, they will easily see this and develop negative attitudes.
4.Have INVOLVEMENT in your son/daughter's studies. Don't DO the homework , but check on their progress, ask if they need help AND ask to see the completed assignments when they say they have finished. So many parents tell me that homework takes HOURS because they admit they don't monitor their son/daughter's on task progress. Show you value what they have completed by reviewing their work.
5.SELF RELIANCE and SUPPORT your son/daughter. Homework is the responsibility of your son/daughter to come home with their materials and assignments. Teach them self- reliance to suffer the consequences from their teacher AND from you if they don't complete the daily assignment. Support your son/daughter. If they are having difficulties with the assignments by offering help and by contact their teacher to ask for suggestions if they are having difficulty with the math or the reading materials.

6.ESTABLISH CONSEQUENCES for failure of your son/daughter to follow through to complete their homework or to be responsible for coming home with materials to complete the assignments.

Place all these components together and you get PRAISE something parents must do each day to foster a positive attitude toward school and being successful. Hang a good comment or paper on the refrigerator, tell your son/daughter that you are proud of them for being prepared for the entire week. Show your son/daughter that what they are doing is of value to you, too.

Gail Hennessey