Getting the MOST out of Homework

Would the families of your students call homework a blessing or a curse?

© 2009 Fanyun H. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#31).

© 2009 Fanyun H. Creative Commons. See image citations for full reference (#31).

In this last of three posts on homework, we move past Taming the Homework Monster and Homework How-to, to consider how we as educators can help parents and students get the most out of homework and help homework become a blessing!

Let’s face it.  Homework is just that – work.  It often conflicts with other things that students (and even parents) would rather be doing.  Even if teachers have crafted meaningful assignments and equipped students for success, homework can often be a challenge for families.  In order to help families be blessed by schoolwork we ask them to do at home, we must equip them to get the MOST out of homework.

M – Monitor appropriately

Parents who monitor homework appropriately demonstrate an interest in their student’s success.  The level of supervision should vary by age and student need.  Young students require a great deal of parent involvement as the students become independent readers and a strong work ethic is established.  As students mature, parents need to continue to monitor homework completion and spot-check quality. By high school, most monitoring can be done through progress reports and report cards.  However, it’s important to remember that students with special needs or weak executive skills may need more rigorous monitoring for longer periods of time, even into the high school years.

O – Offer independence

Research indicates that as parents increase their support for student autonomy, student achievement increases.  However, students whose parents remain overly involved or micro-manage their work see diminishing achievement.  While offering independence can be difficult, it is vital for student success.  Teachers should help parents avoid the temptation to check every math problem and allow the student to work independently.

S – Structure time and environment

Families who enjoy homework are those who have time to do it.  One family I know has “homework time” every night.  Every family member – even parents – sit down in the same room to complete homework.  The parents pay bills, prepare for an upcoming Sunday School lesson, clip coupons, or read.  Students work independently but feel free to ask questions or seek help from parents or siblings.  This format allows parents to monitor student assignments, progress, and time management easily and pleasantly.  The family loves their together time and miss it during the summer months.

T – Talk to the teacher

Encourage your parents and students to talk to you about assignments, homework load, and the time it is taking to complete homework.  There is no better way to reduce the stress of homework than to communicate, communicate, communicate!

What do you do to help your families make the MOST out of homework?  

You can leave a comment by clicking here.

Marty Reed teaches at Veritas School, a classical Christian school in Richmond, Virginia. Her twenty years of teaching, coupled with her duties as pastor's wife and mother of two, provide her with excellent insights to share with FOCUS readers.