STILLWATER – Store shelves are packed with notebooks, crayons and pencils as Oklahoma students prepare to head back to the classroom. In fact, some students in the state have already started the new school year.
Students will now trade trips to the pool and summer vacation for making sure they get their homework assignments complete.
Laura Hubbs-Tait, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension parenting specialist, said homework is a vital part of the learning process.
“Although students need to complete the work on their own, parental involvement is still quite important,” Hubbs-Tait said. “It’s important for parents to be involved in all aspects of their child’s education, even when it comes to homework assignments. The value of homework extends beyond the classroom. Good assignments completed successfully can help children develop positive habits and attitudes toward learning.”
When parents are involved in the homework process it provides them with the opportunity to learn about what their child is learning during the day. Even if the child is not excited about spending time doing homework instead of playing, parents should show enthusiasm for learning and make sure their child knows the importance of homework.
To help assist children in completing homework assignments, determine a regular time in which homework should be done. For some students this may be right after school. Others may find it easier to schedule homework time after dinner. In addition, find a place in the home that is free of distractions. It is not a good idea to try to do homework in front of the television.
“Be sure the homework spot has all necessary supplies and other needed resources,” she said. “You don’t want to waste time looking for pencils, paper, a dictionary or other necessary items.”
When it comes down to the actual homework assignments, Hubbs-Tait suggests parents monitor the work being done, but be careful about actually doing the assignment for the child. Be available to answer questions, but keep in mind there is a fine line between supporting and doing. Go over the assignments when the child completes the work.
Something else parents need to consider is their child’s learning style. Some children are visual learners. In this situation, drawing a picture or a chart can help the child better understand the lesson. For example, if a child is learning about the different bones in the body, he or she may have difficulty simply remembering the difference between the tibia and the fibula. However, drawing a picture and labeling the bones can help the child retain the information.
Children who are more auditory learners may need to listen to a story or have directions read to them. Too much written material may cause confusion.
“Homework is an essential part of the learning process and it’s very important for parents to be involved. It may take a while to help your child develop good study habits, but the effort is worthwhile,” Hubbs-Tait said. “Working with both the teacher and your child can help prevent homework hassles and will encourage a positive learning environment.”
Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.