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Youth Identity Project: Homework Hints for Parents

    • Make sure your child starts the school day well-rested and with a healthy breakfast.
    • Establish a regular “quiet time” every day to work on homework.  If middle schoolers do not have homework, they should spend that time working on a long-term project, reviewing for a future test, or reading for pleasure.  It is helpful if parents also spend this quiet time working on their own quiet activities (e.g., reading the paper, paying bills), as it is important to be a good role model for your children.
    • Designate a special place in your home for your child to work on homework.  This place should be free of distractions, with a comfortable place to sit, plenty of room to work, and with good lighting.  Necessary materials such as pencils or a dictionary should be easily accessible. Organization is key.  
    • Teach your child time management and organizational skills. Encourage your child to use a homework assignment book or calendar to record due dates for all assignments and to check off when work is completed. Your child can use the calendar to list what items should be taken to school each day so as not to arrive at school without a critical assignment. Many middle school teachers assign large projects that should be carried out over a period of several weeks. Help your child to plan ahead and establish a schedule so that the project is completed little by little rather than done hurriedly the night before the project is due.  
    • Discuss your child’s homework with him or her.  Ask questions and show interest.  If a child appears to be struggling, be supportive.  If the child becomes extremely frustrated, suggest a short break (perhaps with a snack) and then come back and work on a couple of example problems.
    • If your child is having problems at school or consistently doesn’t understand homework assignments, arrange to meet with your child’s teacher to discuss ways to address the problem. In some situations, advice from other parents might be helpful. Your child will learn from your behavior that tackling problems head-on is better than ignoring them.
    • Remember to praise your child for extra effort and a job well done.  

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