Teaching Healthy Homework Habits September 13 2010

As a teacher, you don't have any control over what happens with kids and their homework when they leave your classroom. You do, however, have influence over how both students and parents view and implement homework time.

The subject of homework has probably already been covered in your classroom - what it will include and when it will be due, especially - and your students probably understand what's expected of them. However, it's important to communicate with those expectations with parents. These expectations may include:

*Homework involves important practice and review of skills and concepts taught in class
*Homework is the child's responsibility to complete independently
*Homework should be brought back to school by the student

Guidelines for Students and Parents

When communicating these expectations, you may want to offer these basic guidelines that both parents and student can follow.

  • Establish Routine - Regular routines are important, and not just for homework. Suggest that parents set regular times for meals, snacks, and bedtimes as well as homework times.
  • Provide Space - It's important to not only designate when homework will be done, but where. Children need a space free from distraction but not out of sight of an adult. It's also important that kids have designated areas for all papers and materials that need to be taken from home to school.
  • Supervise - Parents need to be nearby during homework time, preferably involved in their own tasks. This helps parents monitor their child and look over completed homework. Parents should also wait to be asked for help, and first go over the directions, ask questions and provide examples instead of doing the work for their kids.

What if Kids Forget their Homework?

When kids forget homework, I consider this a good thing as both a teacher and a parent. I encourage parents not to deliver it, instead letting their child experience the natural consequences of forgetting it. Kids tend to learn pretty fast, especially in this area.

Continue to emphasize the importance of your students completing homework throughout the year. Use report cards and conferences to encourage kids and parents to stick with the routines they set up together. Support their efforts in weekly newsletters, letting parents and kids know that what they're doing is making a difference!