Regardless of your child’s age, they will have homework at some point during the school year. Whether it is finishing work from the school day, handling worksheets assigned to do at home, or tackling a big project that can’t be done in a single night, learning to make homework time productive is an essential skill for your child to develop. Here are six ways from Great Schools! to make homework useful to your child’s learning.

  1. Set Priorities. List everything that needs to get done, and then prioritize them. This helps your child feel more in control of their learning.
  2. Tackle Difficult Tasks First. By starting with the most difficult assignments first, your child can take advantage of their energy level and focus starting out before moving on to easier assignments as their energy and focus wane.
  3. Break Tasks Down into Smaller Steps. Taking on a big homework assignment can feel overwhelming, which often leads to procrastination and giving up early. Help your child break down the big assignment into smaller, more manageable steps. Completing a step towards the bigger goal helps your child feel like they are accomplishing things. Remind them that tackling a big job is like eating an elephant—you can only do it one bite at a time.
  4. Create Evidence of Learning. Make reading, reviewing notes, or other study tasks more productive by having your child create something as they work. Whether it is creating flash cards, making a second set of notes with key points in a bullet list, or organizing things graphically, doing so can make your child an active learner rather than a passive one.
  5. Build a Network of Support. If your child is stuck on a particular problem or concept, have them write down notes on what they think they understand about the problem and what’s confusing them. Figuring out where they are getting lost can help them determine where to look for information to help them past their confusion or provide their teacher with critical information on what they need extra support with.
  6. Revisit Goals and Set New Ones. At the start of the homework session, you and your child identified tasks to be completed and set priorities. At the end of the session, look back over those goals, check off the ones that were completed, and congratulate your child on their productivity and effort. Discuss where they struggled and how they overcame difficulties.

Photo © 2021 by Polina Tankilevitch under Creative Commons license.