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Helping Your Child with Homework

Many parents complain that they can’t help their kids with homework without it becoming a disaster for all concerned. Yet homework can actually be one of the best times to cement a positive learning bond between you and your child. Here are some suggestions for making homework a mutually satisfying experience.

• First, let your child set the time and agenda for the study session. Some kids prefer to work in short spurts over a long period of time, while others may wish to get it over with in one shot.

• Second, if your child has trouble getting started, help focus him by asking, “What do you need the most help with right now?”

• Third, avoid using rewards and punishments which only convey that learning isn’t worth pursuing in its own right.

• Fourth, give clear, nonjudgmental feedback. Don’t say, “No dummy, that’s not right.” Say instead, “You put four and the answer is five.”

• Finally, if you don’t know the answer, just say so. Together, you can find the solutions from the book or a third party.

Remember, relax and joke around a bit during study sessions; homework doesn’t have to be a power struggle. Look on it, instead, as a time when you both can walk away having learned something new.

Thomas Armstrong, Ph.D. is an award-winning author and speaker with twenty-eight years of teaching experience from the primary through the doctoral level. Over one million copies of his books are in print on issues related to learning and human development. He is the author of nine books including Multiple Intelligences in the Classroom, In Their Own Way, Awakening Your Child’s Natural Genius, 7 Kinds of Smart, The Myth of the A.D.D. Child, ADD/ADHD Alternatives in the Classroom, and Awakening Genius in the Classroom. His books have been translated into sixteen languages.

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