Today’s middle school students are receiving more homework, which means they need more than ever to develop and hone their organization and time management skills. The best way to support homework efforts is to help children design a framework within which they can do their best work with an increasing degree of independence:
- Be prepared.
Assume your children will have studying to do every night and work with them to create a comfortable, distraction-free homework zone.
- Understand teachers’ policies and expectations.
Encourage your children to ask their teachers questions, reminding them that an in-person visit before or after school is often most effective.
- Be available and teach by example.
Check in with your children while they work, offering to be a sounding board or source of advice. Help them cope with feelings of failure or frustration.
- Identify other resources.
Encourage your children to find homework buddies, and do not hesitate to line up extra support if needed. Get to know the guidance counselors and other school employees. Education support professionals generally know all of the students in the school, and their relationship with your children will continue as they move from one grade to the next. Consider taking advantage of the many technology-based tools and educational software titles now available.
- Stay in touch with your children’s teachers.
If teachers have access to e-mail, it can be an effective way to maintain regular contact in addition to telephone calls and in-person visits. Let teachers know of any home issues that may affect academic performance or needs.
- Inspire learning outside school.
Nurture your children’s personal interests, perhaps finding activities that parallel what they’re studying in school, thus fostering their enthusiasm for learning as a life-long endeavor. National Education Association and LeapFrog