Homework Do's and Dont's for Parents

  • Don't assume students will choose to study if given a choice.
  • Do provide the structure students need by holding a study hall at home each school night.
  • Don't banish kids to their bedrooms to study, where they are free to romp and play.
  • Do have them study at a central location where you can monitor them, such as the kitchen table.
  • Don't expect kids to study unsupervised.
  • Do join them at the table to read, pay bills, do a craft project, fold laundry, or pursue another quiet activity whenever possible.
  • Don't allow kids to study with the TV or stereo on.
  • Do set a timer and have the whole family observe quiet time during the study hall - provide puzzles and crayons for toddlers and ask them to whisper; put infants in a nearby playpen filled with toys.
  • Don't play "homework detective" to learn what has been assigned and when everything is due.
  • Do hold this at-home study hall each day for the same length of time whether or not students have assignments, materials, or appear to be accomplishing anything.
  • Don't bribe or punish to get kids to bring home books and do assignments.
  • Do let boredom serve as a motivator by continuing to observe the at-home study hall every school night.
  • Don't scold kids who talk, sleep, or doodle.
  • Do time any interruptions (whether "good" or "bad," regardless of the reason, no matter who is "at fault") and extend the study hall to compensate students for lost time (add the time missed plus two minutes per interruption). Make sure students get their full time to study, no matter what!
  • Don't teach, tutor, or assume responsibility for student's homework.
  • Do alert teachers if students need more help. Play educational games with your children and provide them with fun ways to learn.
  • Don't complain about students' poor ability to organize, concentrate, manage responsibility, and plan ahead.
  • Do learn how to teach children these crucial skills yourself.
  • Don't give up before you've done your homework!
  • Do remember that for every homework problem, there is a solution! (adapted from Sonna 1998. 17).

Educational Research Service 2004