Is math homework causing you and your children headaches every night? Are you struggling to answer their questions because you didn't learn the same way? So many parents, including myself, struggle with math homework on a daily/weekly basis. Here are some helpful tips to make math homework run more smoothly for everyone!
1. Create a weekly calendar that has a set time when your children will do their homework every day for that week. Plan around activities and play dates so there is no arguing when it comes time to sit down and get to work. You can print out free weekly or monthly calendars online and find cute stickers or stamps to make the experience more fun for your kids.
2. Find out from your children's teachers their expectations for completing math homework. Some teachers like you to review each homework assignment, while others would like to see each student's own thinking and mistakes. It is important for both the teacher and the parent to be on the same page. So send an email or ask at back-to-school night. This will relieve any stress your children might feel about being stuck in the middle between the parent and teacher.
3. Create a plan with your children about what to do when they come to a question they don't understand. Instead of them running to you for the answer, have them either circle the number or put a question mark next to the question. If you see a mistake, encourage them to go back and review several problems. Don't tell them exactly which ones they got wrong. It's important for them to feel empowered and responsible when completing their homework. Learning from their own mistakes is an important teachable moment; we don't want to rob them of it.
4. Post-it notes are a great way for students to ask questions they may have when completing homework. If your children don't know an answer or don't remember how to complete a problem, have them write their question on a Post-it and place it on their homework sheet or book. This way, they can ask the question the next day during homework review time or independently. What a great way to get around those terrible fights over how to answer each question!!!
5. Timing can sometimes be a problem when completing homework. If your children need to take breaks, consider setting a timer so they can visually see how long they are taking and work towards a 5- or 10-minute break. Remember, you know your children best! If homework is taking too long or exceeding the approximate homework time, it's ok to say enough is enough. Write a simple note to the teacher explaining how it was taking too long and your children worked for a certain amount of time. Maybe a review sheet could be sent home the next night to review the topics in a simpler way. It's not worth anyone getting upset and exhausted working on a few problems.
What's your tip for successful math homework? Share your advice on the Scholastic Parents Facebook page.