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Get them to use the computer
…but not unsupervised
(but not too involved)
Here are suggestions for different age groups:
Grades Three through six
- Give lots of feedback. Have your child solve problems or answer questions five or so at a time, then check the work. That way, you can spot errors that might otherwise cause her to do the entire assignment incorrectly.
- Zero in on good work first. With kids this age, it is especially important to point out what they did right. Often, they interpret corrections as disapproval on your part, and that can be discouraging.
- Don’t let homework drag on. If an assignment isn’t further along after an hour than it was after ten minutes, there’s something your child just isn’t getting. Call it quits and write a note to the teacher asking for a meeting.
Middle school and high school
- Help kids get organized. At this point, the workload will be anywhere from two to three hours a night, which may make it rough for kids to keep track of assignments. Many teachers are now posting homework online. So first thing, log on with your child and check what she’s supposed to be doing. Otherwise, review daily assignments as soon as your kids get home from school.
- Set priorities. Unlike grade school students, kids this age must deal with competing assignments from several teachers. You can help by ranking the work from easiest to hardest. Then encourage your child to tackle the easy jobs first. That may seem like strange advice, but making progress through a long to-do list can be a real stress believer.
- When it comes to big projects that can take several weeks, break them down into little pieces so they are less overwhelming. For example, have your child divide a term paper into sections. Each time he finishes a section, he can take a break.
- Foster independence. During the middle school years, you’ll still be involved. Even so, it’s time to encourage your child to work more on his own. And it’s time for you to check an assignment only when it is actually complete.