Help Your Child with Math Assignments: Tips and Tricks

It can be stressful for both parents and students if students consistently complain and refuse to do their homework. The reasons can vary from not understanding the material to being distracted by another activity. The following ideas can assist you in helping your children with their math homework - without fights about getting it done and without you doing it for them.

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Math Homework - A Family Project

Why Homework?

Why do teachers assign homework? Usually, teachers give homework to help the students practice the skills they learned in class so they retain the material. Homework can also help students learn to work more independently. In addition, completing assignments on their own can help students become more responsible and self-disciplined.

The Parents' Role

If parents disregard the need for homework or simply tell their child, 'Do your homework,' she'll likely fight them every step of the way. However, if the parents show they care and that they're willing to help in appropriate ways, homework time can not only be enjoyable, but help build stronger parent-child relationships, too.

Specific Time

A scheduled time to complete homework makes the process easier because it is consistent and expected. However, keep in mind that allowing some playtime before beginning homework can be helpful because it relieves the stress from the school day.

If your child knows he must spend a certain amount of time working on his homework every day, he won't be as likely to hurry through the work in order to do something he considers more fun. Similarly, if he's required to complete his homework before the 'more fun' activity, he won't be as likely to dawdle.

Specific Place

If there's only one place where homework can be done, it can help your child get into the correct state of mind for completing the work. Physical readiness can translate into mental readiness. If possible, have the place be one where only homework is allowed in a quiet, removed area, such as a table in the corner of a room. Help your child work efficiently by having materials like pencils, erasers, pens and rulers nearby.

Take Away Distractions

Even if your child tells you she can concentrate better if she has loud music, ask her to prove it. For example, allow her to spend the first half of her homework time working in a quiet atmosphere (no TV on, no phone calls and no loud music) and then allow her to do the second half with loud music. Perhaps the best proof is for the student to do her homework without a reminder and to complete it accurately in a reasonable amount of time.

Give Rewards for Successful Completion of Homework

You could make a spinner with some rewards on it (e.g., have a sleepover on the weekend, do something of their choice or get a candy bar). If his homework is done without delaying tactics and in the allotted time, he gets to spin and receive the designated reward.

Do Your Homework, Too

It's often helpful if parents do their 'homework' during this time, too. This could be reading, doing work that you brought home, mending or writing letters. This type of activity sets a good example and contributes to a helpful atmosphere.

Keep in Touch with the Teacher

If you know how your child's doing in math and what concepts seem to be problematic, you'll be better able to help her. Only the teacher can give you this information. He or she can also help you know how much and what kind of guidance you can give without making your child unnecessarily dependent on your help.

Doing the work

Be sure the child knows how to do the problems by asking questions such as, 'In your own words, what are you supposed to do?' Similarly, questions like, 'Do you need any special material to do the homework?' can support his or her growing independence. Make your child take the lead, by saying something like, 'Show me how you're going to do the first problem.'

If your child doesn't seem to understand the material, you may need to reteach it. Look for online lessons or games for the same concepts. However, avoid using the homework problems as examples because then your child won't have anything to practice on.

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