What Parents Need To Know About Homework

How does your child refer to the ‘H’ word? How do you refer to the ‘H’ word?


When teachers assign homework, children are expected to get it done. We know that every assignment is not always graded or reviewed. In an attempt to minimize its importance, your child will be quick to tell you so. Nonetheless, it is expected to be completed.

two girls doing school works

Homework is rarely a much anticipated task for young learners. Yet, it is beneficial for supplementing and reinforcing classroom instruction. Homework assignments are opportunities to work independently and deepen engagement with classroom content.

How do parents tend to address and refer to homework? They ‘tell’ their child in a commanding voice, ” Do your homework.” Or, he is asked,” Did you do ALL of your homework?” Almost every night, at the same time, these questions are asked or the same commands are given. Sometimes repeatedly. It all sounds like a chore, not a responsibility that can bring a lifetime of rewards.

Parent engagement is solidly embedded in the learning framework. Parents are encouraged and invited to be actively involved in their child’s learning process at school, including helping from home.

Not every parent can or even has to understand all of the concepts their child learns at school. Parents don’t have to be proficient in English, spoken or written, to be considered actively involved with their child’s homework. There are many other ways that parents can be supportive when it comes to that ‘H’ word.

woman wearing blue jacket sitting on chair near table reading books

Trust me, if your child could avoid doing homework 3-4 nights a week, and sometimes on weekends,your child most certainly would. So many children try to avoid it. They tell parents that there is ‘no homework tonight’. That line is usually 98% false.

Your child goes to school and whether elementary, middle or high school level, the entire school day is not spent focusing on one subject. There is Math, Science, Social Studies, and so forth. This informs parents that there will usually be homework in at least one or more subject most nights.

Recommended guidelines for homework assignments are as follows:

  • In 1st grade, children should have 10 minutes of daily homework;
  • in 2nd grade, 20 minutes;
  • and so on to the 12th grade, when on average they should have 120 minutes of homework each day, which is about 10 hours a week.

Assume that your child ALWAYS has homework, and even when there really is no homework formally assigned by the teacher, there is always something to study, review or practice at home.

You ask your child about homework and are told,  ‘I did it in school.’

They may also tell you that, “I left my textbook in class.”, and by mistake of course. Believe me, it is usually no mistake at all.  Therefore, it is up to you to ensure assignments are completed each night. If your child tends to avoid doing his or her homework, help your child learn to embrace the challenge rather than resist it.

Because we understand that many children tend to view homework as a chore, there is minimal motivation to get it done. If your child is usually doing homework in his or her bedroom, you may find that when checking in on progress, it may take might take two or more hours to finish.


What you can do is to designate space in a common area, like the dining room or kitchen table, for homework. Because homework is an independent activity, children can feel lonely, while in a common space, your child will feel more supported, less isolated.

Parents worry that they may not actually understand the concepts their children learn in school or whether they are expected to help their child complete their homework.

Parents are encouraged to actively help their child with homework. This doesn’t mean that you are to do it for them, or that you must understand the proper usage of an ampersand or know how to perform advanced mathematical operations. If you do, you may clarify only-don’t do it for them.

The most important ‘help’ a parent can give with homework is encouragement and a space set up for maximized focus. Keep the distractions to a minimum, and your support ever-present.

Don’t approach homework as a burdensome chore that your child must perform while isolated from others. When your child understands the responsibility of homework, and becomes conscious of the impact on learning and grades, he or she may want to be alone while completing assignments.

For now, helping your child with homework may mean suggesting that your child re-read questions, refer to the text, call on a classmate, review class notes or to simply recall the teacher’s instruction.

portrait of woman photographing with smart phone

There are also telephone hotlines to help students with homework. Usually provided by the local teacher’s union, services such as ‘Dial-A-Teacher’ can help your child gain deeper understanding of learning-related skills and concepts. They may provide referral or supplemental resources that may help, as well. The tips and strategies are all free of charge.

 The morning after a tough or incomplete assignment, your child may suddenly feel ill-too sick to go to school. Sure, trust your child, but verify that that stomachache is not homework-related. School attendance is  important. Avoidance will do more harm than good, for each day missed, is a missed opportunity to ask for help, right from the source-the teacher.

If you are certain that your child had difficulty with an assignment, be sure to communicate this to his or her teacher. The teacher can proactively address and clarify instructional content before moving too far ahead.

lovinglyIt will be amazing how that tummy ache will miraculously disappear, once confidence is restored and there’s a more clear understanding of the lesson.

Do not let them give up on their capacity to learn and succeed.  Be an example of how to persevere through difficulties. Encourage a ‘can do’ attitude, and emphasize that failure is a critical step towards success. Above all else, encourage effort, because making an effort is much better than doing nothing at all.

Always encourage your child to review his or her work once complete. This is just to check for unintended mistakes. Also, if your child dislikes homework because it is ‘boring’, and you may agree, inform the teacher. Your child may not be the only child who feels this way. Ask teachers to spice up homework and make assignments as relevant as possible. Children, as do adults, prefer homework and learning that is useable knowledge.

What parents need to know about homework is that it is a necessary part of the learning process. Homework is practice. Set aside a particular time each day for homework, and make it a daily routine. Last and most importantly, all you need, as the parent or adult caregiver,  to actively help with homework is structure, encouragement and of course, your love and support. Let’s help with some homework now. 













































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