How to Help With Homework and Not Be Overwhelmed
School is back in full swing and homework is coming home in droves. Lucky for me, my girls are only in first grade and third grade so I can still keep up.
It also helps that my previous day job for the past 15 years was working in the education/tutoring field, but believe me, I’ve seen the tweets and Facebook status updates of parents facing the challenges of new math and English above their heads.
There are a few things that you can do .
If you don’t know what you’re talking about, don’t pretend you do.
If you don’t understand the homework or have forgotten how to do it, do not pretend you know what you are doing. It’s not worth it to confuse your child just so you can save face. In the long run, you will only be hurting you both.
Email the teacher and ask for clarification of assignment instructions. If it’s something simple that you can get a quick answer to, consult Google; if not, think about a professional tutor because no, you can’t relearn physics in a few minutes.
Google it, just a little bit.
The Internet is a wonderful and vast resource if you use it correctly, which means never use Wikipedia because it is not a reliable source. There a many university and state sites that offer magnificent resources.
For example, Purdue Owl is a fabulous resource for English homework and Sparknotes is a great resource to help you check your child’s literature homework. If they ever forget their book or you are a little rusty, Sparknotes offers complete manuscripts and quizzes with answers.
Phone/Tweet/Facebook a friend.
The Internet has made the world a smaller place and chances are, even if you don’t understand something, one of your friends will and the answer may just need a quick and easy explanation in layman’s terms.
Make sure there are no distractions.
If your child needs your help, don’t make it just one more thing on your list. It has to be the most important thing on your list. You have to help them with no other distractions.
Find a quiet place, turn off phones, televisions and radios and start by asking your child what they need help with or what they don’t understand. Listen and let them finish their explanation before you answer. Give them your undivided attention.
Invest in a Tutor.
If your child is really struggling with homework and you aren’t able to help him, there is no shame in investing in a tutor. There are several routes to go, like a teacher at your child’s school who wants to make some extra cash, a college student , a learning center like Sylvan, Kumon or, my favorite, the Huntington Learning Center or an online tutoring center like tutor.com based out of New York.
Online tutoring is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year and you can sit in on the session with your child and perhaps help them along, as you refresh yourself.
How do you help your child with their homework? What works for you?
Photo Source: Steven Leith