How to Cultivate the Best Environment for Doing Homework

Published November 08, 2016 |
How to Cultivate the Best Environment for Doing Homework
Homework has become deeply ingrained in the U.S. educational system, but how much homework is too much and how can you create a healthy environment for your child to do schoolwork at home?

Doing homework is an unavoidable part of being a student but some children have more trouble than others doing school work on their own at home. As a parent, it is your job to get your child the help he or she needs to learn and to thrive academically – you should also think about ways to create a healthy environment for doing homework at home. Keep reading to learn more about minimizing distractions and cultivating a good homework environment for your child.

The History of Homework

Homework has become a tradition in academic environments, but where does this tradition come from? The concept of extra schoolwork that must be completed at home has become engrained in U.S. academic culture and some believe that it doesn’t provide much value for students. The use of homework has changed as the course of education in history has changed. During the late 19th century, education for primary grades was irregular and most classrooms contained students of different ages. Primary students were rarely assigned homework and the older students got, the more likely they were to leave school for the work force. In the early 20th century, there was a rise in progressive education as well as an anti-homework movement. When the Cold War came around, however, homework once more rose its ugly head as America became obsessed about competing with the Russians. In the years since, the pro-homework movement gained strength but it is once more starting to come into question.

Tips for Creating a Healthy Homework Environment

The word “homework” strikes fear and loathing into the hearts of many students but school work doesn’t have to be scary. No matter how young or old your child is, homework will eventually become a part of his educational experience. What many parents do not realize is that cultivating a healthy environment to do homework can boost their child’s performance in a number of ways and it may be simpler than you think. Below you will find some simple tips for cultivating a healthy homework environment for your child:

  • Choose a location that has limited distractions but is still accessible if your child is likely to need your help – you want an area with plenty of surface space to spread out but not a place you’ll have to clean and declutter every time you want to use it (like the kitchen table).
  • Don’t let your child do homework on the couch in front of the TV – you want a dedicated homework spot because it will help your child to focus and it will limit distractions.
  • Gather up all the supplies your child is likely to need and assemble them in the new homework spot – keep the supplies organized so they are on hand when your child needs them.
  • Make sure the location is well-lit and comfortable for your child – you can include a comfy chair to work from but don’t make it so comfy that your child is likely to fall asleep!
  • Give the new homework spot a try for a few days and see how it works for your child – make any adjustments needed to better suit your child.

These are just a few ways you can turn your home into a healthy homework environment. Keep in mind that each child is unique so you may need to make adjustments according to your child’s needs and preferences. Keep reading to learn more about how you can help your child with homework.

How to Help Your Child with Homework

In addition to cultivating a healthy homework environment in your home, there are some other ways you can help your child with homework. One thing you should do is create a plan at the beginning of the school year and talk to your child about your expectations. Will your child be required to do homework right after school or will there be some flexibility? Do you anticipate any challenges with your child’s work load and, if so, what can be done to remedy the problem? Talk to your child about a daily schedule for homework time and do your best to stick to it.

While you should not do your child’s work for him, you should make yourself available if your child needs help. Sometimes it may be as simple as clarifying the instructions, explaining them in a different way that your child can better understand. If you don’t have the knowledge or skills to help your child with a particular subject, think about bringing a tutor on board or ask one of your older children for help. You can also speak to the teacher about resources that could be beneficial for both you and your child.

Another thing you can do to help your child with his homework is to sit back and relax – don’t do your child’s work for him! Make sure that your child has the study material and classwork needed to complete the assignment, but let him work through the homework on his own. Completing homework assignments tests more than just your child’s mastery of the subject matter – it also helps him to develop study skills as well as problem solving skills. You can help your child understand the requirements of the assignment but let him or her complete it on their own.

How Much Time Should Your Child Spend on Homework?

Homework is something that every child dreads but it actually plays an important role in your child’s education. Doing homework helps your child learn how to read and follow directions, plus it puts their problem-solving skills to the test. Homework can also help your child learn how to budget and manage time, especially with paper and other long-term assignments. But some teachers give their students several hours’ worth of work to do each night, and that is on top of being at school for 7 hours a day. So how much time should your child be spending on homework each day?

The answer to this question varies according to your child’s age and ability level. As your child gets older and the subjects he is studying get harder, the more time he will spend on homework each day. According to an article in the L.A. Times, kindergarten students should spend about 10 minutes a day on homework while first and second graders should spend up to 20 minutes daily. For third, fourth and fifth graders, add an extra ten minutes per day. When you get into middle school and high school, recommendations change from a daily limit to a per-class limit. Sixth graders should have no more than 15 minutes of homework per class and that number increases by five minutes for every two grades.

If you are worried that your child is being given too much homework, don’t be afraid to talk to the teacher. If your child has trouble with certain subjects or if he doesn’t understand the assignment, talking directly to the teacher can provide some helpful insight and clarification. Your child’s teacher may be able to suggest some tutoring options to help your child finish his homework more quickly. If it is actually a matter of too much homework being assigned, you may want to talk to some other parents and then address the issue with the teacher as a group.


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