LOS ANGELES — So, you've answered the big question, 'Why do homework?' Now, you need to know how. The following tips from Lee Canter's book "Homework Without Tears" should help with the seven most common problems that arise with homework.
Sloppy homework. First, show how the work should be done - neatly and carefully. Careless mistakes are not acceptable. Support this with mandatory homework time - take away the incentive to race through the work.
A child refuses to do homework. Reiterate that homework must be done and back up your words with action. Tell the child that he or she will not be allowed to do anything else until it is done, and follow through.
Homework doesn't come home. Make it clear that you expect homework to come home, and work with the teacher to make sure you know what has been assigned. Again, create a mandatory homework time.
Homework takes all night. Emphasize that homework should be completed during homework time. Make sure the child has a proper homework area. Make yourself available to help only during homework time.
A child won't do homework alone. Make it clear that you expect the child to work independently. Step in with help only after the child has made a sincere effort on his or her own. Lots of encouragement will help build self-confidence.
Homework is always done at the last minute. Let children know they are to plan ahead for short and long-term projects. Create a long-range plan with a calendar the child can use. Monitor each step.
The child won't do homework if you're not home. Make sure the child knows he or she is to do the homework whether or not you're home, and that the sitter knows about homework time. Monitor the child, if possible, to make sure the homework period is being observed.
Mr. Canter adds that praise and incentives in whatever form will motivate your child and help to conquer these problems.