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How to handle homework
Berny Unruh

What parent does not want the best for their child? All parents also want their children to do well in school. The best time to set a plan in motion is at the beginning of the school year. One of the most important things to do is approach all school work with a positive outlook. 

Kathleen A. Olson, Extension educator in family relations from the University of Minnesota suggests setting aside a regular time and place for homework. Help your child with their homework but do not do it for them. 

Olson shared these other guidelines for a successful problem-solving approach to school and homework. 

1. Set an example by working on something of your own during the time set aside for homework. Encourage them to ask questions and even think out loud to help them solve a problem. It is important that your child knows that you are available for them. 

2. Ask your child questions about his homework. Perhaps they could do a problem for you or describe what they’ve been reading. Then, when your child needs help, your goal should be to help them do it themselves. Help them find information. Ask lots of questions. Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” Remember: you’re a guide and a support to your child.

3. An assignment may be overwhelming to your child. Help your child break the assignment down and help him identify the steps needed to complete the homework.

4. Assist your child with technology. If you have access to a computer, work together so you know what they are doing. 

5. If you can’t physically be available, you can still set aside a time and place and check on their homework when you get a chance.

6. Encourage children to think of their homework as their job. The biggest part of the job is to learn.

It is the parent’s job to help their child develop a system to keep track of assignments and projects. Many schools use an electronic system for parents to track their students’ progress, but don’t forget to look for paper notes and other information that may come home in their backpack. It needs to be checked every day to make sure you don’t miss anything

Don’t forget to recognize your child for work that is well done. Always encourage them and then praise them for papers that are complete and find a place to display work for everyone to see. With a little planning and implementation of some time management tools, you and your child will have a successful school year.

Berny Unruh is the Family and Community Wellness Agent for the Cottonwood Extension District.  She can be reached at 785-628-9430 or