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Miller, Erin

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Homework Tips

by Erin Miller

Thank you for taking the lead in helping your child develop good study habits. Together we can help your child establish study skills that will serve him/her in the years to come.

Fourth grade is a transitional year, preparing students for the middle school environment. Organization and responsibility are two main factors in a smooth transition.

Homework in Mrs. Miller’s fourth grade will consist of completing assignments that have been discussed and started together in class. Your child should have a very clear understanding of the directions and what is expected on the paper. Even so, it can be a struggle to help your child transition to a more independent homework time. Below are some general homework tips that I recommend to parents as they begin to encourage a more independent approach.

1. Students need a designated homework area. This may be a main part of the home or a bedroom, but should be an area where distractions are limited. This area should be set up for work. Students need access to pencils, coloring supplies, a calculator, ruler, and paper.

2. Students need a homework procedure. Guide your child in setting up a specific time for homework to be done (earlier is usually better). Also, consider checking in with your child at the beginning of homework time to discuss the order in which assignments should be completed (a spelling assignment that is not due until Wednesday should not come before a math assignment due on Tuesday). Use the homework sheet to number the assignments, giving your child a visual aid during work time.

3. Some students will need to check in with a parent after each assignment is complete, while others will feel comfortable completing several tasks before seeking parent approval. See what works best for your child. Needs may change during the course of the year as students become more comfortable with the requirements of homework.

4. If your child desires your full attention during homework time, consider giving your child a certain number of passes. We use partner passes in class. When given an independent assignment, I might allow students one partner pass. This means that at any point in the assignment, a child may ask for help from a neighbor one time. This help may be clarification of directions, help with locating an answer, or help sounding out a word. I find that this approach encourages students to ask for help and provides a safety net for students who may feel a bit uneasy about a particular task. It also allows students to get immediate assistance if I am busy helping another student.
At home, a parent may look over the length of an assignment and give the child a certain number of passes for parent help. This way the child knows help is available, but most of the assignment will have to be completed independently.

5. Homework is your child’s responsibility. While I encourage parents to oversee the process and help their children develop good study habits, homework time should not become a battle.  If your child is fighting your efforts every step of the way, take a giant step back and allow your child to receive the appropriate consequences at school. If this is a consistent problem, please contact me and I will be happy to call a special three way conference between teacher, student, and parent.

Thank you for your support. A strong partnership between home and school is the key to a successful year!

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