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Homework Tips for Parents with Struggling Kids

Parent involvement with homework activities can help students achieve higher rates of completion. It has been shown that a combination of self-management strategies and parent participation was effective in helping students with emotional and behavioral disorders successfully complete homework assignments.

Primary role of the parent in the homework routine should be one of monitoring already accommodated homework assignments. This could include (a) prompting (as appropriate) to help the student begin and stay on the homework task, (b) helping the student problem-solve with such issues as directions and finding information, and (c) praising and otherwise reinforcing the student for staying on task and completing assignments.

Teachers might offer suggestions for parents that incorporate preexisting household tasks and roles that can serve to further extend skills being covered at school. For example, when covering the addition of numbers with two decimal places at school, the teacher might ask that, in the future, the student bring a calculator when shopping at the grocery store with a family member. While there, the student can maintain an ongoing tally of the amount of the items to be purchased and then compare the amount with the cashier. Similarly, when classroom instruction targets measurement, a parent might be asked to have the student measure the proper amounts of detergent, bleach, and fabric softener needed for each load during laundry time at home. Options such as these facilitate generalization of skills taught at school and have meaning within daily living tasks that families need to complete.

Parents may initially have to provide higher levels of support as students begin to acquire new skills. As students begin to demonstrate higher levels of homework independence, parents can begin to withdraw support.

Teachers must consider the following: what types and amounts of homework to assign; how to incorporate accommodations or adaptations in these assignments; how to give feedback about completed homework; and how to communicate effectively about homework with parents, including individualized suggestions for appropriate types and levels of parental support.

Hampshire, P., Butera, G., & Hourcade, J. (2014) Homework plans: A tool for promoting independence. Teaching Exceptional Children. 46(6), p. 158-168.