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How much homework help should you give?

Even by grade two, your child will be bringing home school work, for which they are not given any class time. It's hard for young children to sit and do work after a long day at school, so before you open their bags, let them play a little bit, run around and have a snack. Then set up a routine, so that they know that at 4:30, it's time to sit down and do their homework. Organize a designated area that is free from distractions, has a clean working surface and lots of pencils, crayons, a pencil sharpener and eraser etc. available.

A Homework Party

Sit down with your child and have work of your own, whether you're reading a book, doing banking or writing a letter. This can be called a "Homework Party" where everyone in the family sits together to do work. Your child won't feel left out of anything and will see that working at home is something we all do. You are also then close at hand to help out and answer any questions they may have.

Remember, first and foremost - it's not your homework. The teacher is not interested in what you know. The point of the work is to see what the children understand. The younger grades have regular homework Monday through Thursday. They should know what is expected of them each day as the instructions are the same every week. If it is a different kind of homework, read the instructions over with them first, to make sure they understand what they need to do.

Ways to help without giving away the answers:

Do an example together, walking them through each step and telling them what you're doing and why.

Ask them questions. What is being asked? What do they know for sure? How do they know?

Give hints, help find definitions or show them where to find the information.

For math, they might need counters to use, like bobby pins, cherrios, beads etc.

If they are really stuck on a question, have them move on and come back to it at the end. The rest of the homework might give them insight into how that question should be done.

If you notice your child is having a hard time concentrating, suggest that they need to chose a different subject. Math uses the left side of the brain, language art uses the right, so if they are tired of math, switch to a right-brained activity like reading. Or let them stand up and do 20 jumping jacks - something to focus his/her energy and get the blood pumping to his/her brain.

When homework is completed, congratulate your child with a high five and a "well done!" Make them feel proud of what they've accomplished.


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