Long Island Parent Talk

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How to stop the homework wars

Mandy Ginsberg of Tutor.com offers tips to help

Mandy Ginsberg of Tutor.com offers tips to help end the homework wars. (Credit: iStock)

Does homework time turn into a war zone at your house? If so, you're not alone. About 60 percent of students need assistance in at least one subject regularly. But according to the National Center for Family Literacy, 46.5 percent of parents have trouble helping their children with homework because they themselves don't understand the material. 

Additionally, a study published in The Journal of Experimental Education found that homework has become the single dominating force in kids' nonschool lives and is causing high levels of stress, sleep deprivation, physical health problems and more. 

To help combat homework stress, Mandy Ginsberg, CEO of Tutor.com, offered these stress-free tips: 

Set up a homework routine. "Kids work better when they have a routine that is right for them," said Ginsberg. "Some kids do better right after school. Other kids need to come home and decompress for a while before they can face their homework. It doesn’t matter what time you choose, just try to stick to it."

Help ... a little. If you’re lucky enough to understand your child’s homework, it’s tempting to help a bit too much, she said. "It's OK to do one sample problem with them, but don’t do three or four or soon you're the one doing the homework."

Make it fun. If your daughter is a visual learner, go online and find a great video that can help her, Ginsberg suggested. "Or, if your child is studying and needs to memorize equations for a test, help him/her create a goofy song. This helps make kids feel more relaxed and ready to learn."

Create a schedule. Middle school and high school students need to balance academics, extracurricular activities and their social life. "Help your children put together a schedule either online or use an erasable whiteboard -- whatever works for your family," she said. "Make sure you add in study/homework time each school night to help your child see when he/she is truly free."

Take a break. Research shows students don’t concentrate well for long periods, said Ginsberg. "Rather than demanding your child finish all his/her homework in one sitting, encourage him/her to take breaks every 20 to 30 minutes. That’s a great time to check their phone, get a snack or just get up and stretch. They’ll complain less and be more productive."

Stay on track. "Older children have more long-term assignments such as a research paper or an essay assigned that's due a month later," she said. "It’s easy to procrastinate and then find your son or daughter in a panic a few days before the due date." Help them map out a plan where they complete a piece of the assignment every few weeks. "Regular due dates will help keep projects on track and reduce last-minute meltdowns," she said.

Celebrate. A great biology grade, finished essay or a week of completed homework assignments deserves some recognition. "Come up with a way to celebrate, whether it’s dessert at your favorite ice cream shop or a new app, your child will appreciate it."

Tags: tweens and teens

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