Get the schoolwork done and keep your sanity? Yes it is possible. Use these tips to create an independent learner out of your child.
In the early elementary years much of the homework requires an adult’s assistance. You will be helping your child read, journal, practice spelling words and math facts, and helping them read and understand math story problems. Homework in this stage is usually best if completed in 10-30 minutes.
Late Elementary/Early Middle School
In late elementary or early middle school you can expect to help your child keep to their study schedule as well as assist with tracking projects and tests on a calendar. Encourage them to make good use of an assignment notebook by writing down assignments as soon as they are given. Much of the actual work will be independent now, but be ready to assist if your child needs help. You might suggest different approaches to study the material, but don’t push. Homework in this stage is usually best if completed in 30-60 minutes.
Middle School/Early High School
In late middle school to early high school you’ll find yourself decreasing your support even more. Monitor your child and determine if he or she is able to succeed independently. If so, great! Keep monitoring. If not, be ready for your child to experience some natural consequences like not feeling prepared for class or even a bad grade or two. Don’t worry; it’s those natural consequences that are teaching your child how to gain independence. Add support back into the homework routine until things get back on track then gradually fade support once again. Homework in this stage is usually best if completed in 60-90 minutes.
Late High School/College
In late high school and college maintain an interest in what your child is learning and help them to study if they ask. Inquire about projects and upcoming tests in a friendly manner. Let them know that you trust them to be independent by giving them the freedom to study on their own. Homework in this stage is usually best completed in 2 hours per class per week (or more in college).
Then sit back and have a cool glass of lemonade. You’ve created an independent learner!