Never before has homework been so controversial. Busy parents and overscheduled children argue that either there is too much homework or that schoolwork should be done in school. Teachers and principals, however, view homework as a way to reinforce classroom lessons or give students needed extra practice. There are a lot of ways that parents, schools, and students, working together, can put homework first while making it seem like less of a burden.

Watch the time
Some children work faster than others and some assignments are longer than others. Is your child is spending hours every night on homework? Check for:

Is your child studying in a quiet, well-lit place? Don’t let television, phone calls, or siblings distract him or her from completing the work.

Is there someone available to answer quick questions about assignments?

Does your child have the tools (i.e.,paper, pen, calculator, dictionary) needed to complete the assignment?

The attitudes of children are often affected by the attitudes of parents and caregivers. Children need to see that you support your child’s need to complete both schoolwork and homework.

Scale back
If your child’s life is so full of after-school and weekend activities that he or she has no time or energy for homework, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate. These activities should never replace school as the primary focus of a child’s life.

Stop Yourself
Many parents “Help” their children by doing some of their homework. This is never OK. It’s far better to send a note to the teacher explaining why your child didn’t finish the assignment.

Stay Involved
Show your children that you care about what they’re doing in school. Check their assignment books every day to help them keep track of what’s due next and what projects are coming up. Review their homework, even checking in with them while they’re working on it.

Most importantly, give your child credit. Praise the work they do. Compliment their study habits. Stay on them if they slack off, but give them credit for all they’re doing and learning. Nothing could be more important.