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Parents play a very important role in helping students believe that time spent completing homework assignments can and does make a difference in successful learning. Parents are helping their child with homework when they:


Stress the importance of homework by providing a time, a place, and supplies for it.


Reinforce the belief that homework is important by supporting, encouraging, and praising the child's efforts. Remember, we all perform best in a supportive atmosphere in which we are valued as individuals.


Reassure the child that some subjects are most difficult than others if a child is working hard but with disappointing results. Feel free to discuss what you can do to help the situation with both the student and the teacher.


Say, "Tell me about your homework" instead of asking the child if he/she has homework.


Provide the child with a clear surface on which to work, good light, appropriate tools, and a comfortable chair. (Not too comfortable - an easy chair may encourage napping.)


Provide a homework environment that is free from background distractions of television, loud conversation, or pets. For some children "white noise" provided by soft instrumental music helps mask such sounds, for others silence is more effective.


Intercept drop-in playmates of the child as well as those of his/her siblings.


Realize that subtle things, such as white paper against a dark desktop, may distract a child. If a child is unable to focus after you have eliminated obvious distractions, check out less obvious sources of distraction.


Recognize that a child may become tired. Even busy walls or buzzing light fixtures may cause the child fatigue!


Listen to or discuss the main points of a homework assignment.


Work one or two examples together and make sure that the child understands the assignment.


Communicate with teachers when more information is needed about assignments.


Keep in touch with your child's teacher to learn about what the class is studying.


Look over your child's paper after the teacher returns it.


Help the child to place finished homework into a backpack so that it can be turned in on time.


Suggest a telephone break during the time that homework is done. Friends will need to be alerted, and the parent can volunteer to take messages for any stray calls.