Take an active interest in your school-age child’s homework

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As a new school year starts, now is the time to develop some good habits to be the best supporter of your child’s learning that you can be.

No, that doesn’t mean doing homework for your child. Here are some wise suggestions that help your child learn. By following these tips, you show your child that you are interested in helping him or her succeed in school and, in turn be successful throughout his entire life.

Visit with your child about the school day. Over the family supper table or some other convenient time after your child gets home from school, visit with him or her about his school day. If there have been problems or wonderful things that happened that day, this is the time to listen and share his concerns, problems or joys and successes. Sharing these with your child helps him or her trust you and know he/she has your interest and support. It will lead to being able to discuss all important things with you when necessary as your child knows you will always be there. Being aware of things happening at school will make you a better parent and school supporter, too.

Learn to know your child’s teachers.Make a point of getting acquainted by attending school open houses and parent-teacher conferences. Find out the teachers’ ideas about the best way for you to help your child. Teachers will likely be grateful that you asked.

Look around your house. Is there a homework-friendly place for your child to work? The place should be quiet, well-lit, and away from television and cell phone. Make sure necessary homework tools are within reach. Such tools are paper, pencils, glue, scissors, and a computer if necessary for homework. The study place should not be in the child’s bedroom. You need to be able to check in with him. He needs to stay on task and not get distracted by the internet or video games.

Make studying a daily family routine. Pay attention to the time period when your child is most likely to concentrate on homework. Is it right after school? Is it after school but also after a snack and a play period? Is it after supper?

Talk briefly with your child about homework required the next day or end of the week. Is there a lot of it? You may want to help break it up into smaller chunks. That way, it won’t seem overwhelming. You can congratulate her after she completes each section.

Make sure your child does his own work. Children need to think for themselves. Solving their problems themselves is important training for adulthood. As hard as it may seem to you, limit yourself to making suggestions and helping with directions.

Be a motivator. Encourage your child to stick with the work. Give encouragement, be a good listener for questions or concerns, and check completed homework. If your child has problems, talk with the teachers and learn how you can help. For instance, you may discover your child needs glasses to see writing on the board.

Praise your child’s work and efforts to do well. Post work with high marks on the refrigerator or other special place.  Mention achievements to relatives.

You make a huge difference in your relationship with your child by being involved in his education. In addition, research shows that children learn best when they know their parents are being their cheerleaders.

Dates of interest

Aug. 19: Extension Homemakers Kick-Off, ice cream social, 6:30 p.m., Extension office 

Sept. 9: Extension Homemakers Learn with Us!, “Simply Salads,” 6:30 p.m., Extension office

Sept. 11: Carroll County Senior Event, “Come Visit the Point Park Zoo” (for senior citizens only), 4-7 p.m., Point Park, Carrollton  


Grace Angotti is Carroll Co. Extension agent for family and consumer sciences. Call her at (502) 732-7030 or send e-mail to gangotti@uky.edu.