How Parents Can Help with Elementary Homework Challenges

Elementary homework can quickly become a challenging task for your student to complete. No matter the age, balancing several classes at a time can become taxing for many elementary students. It can become easy for them to question the importance of these assignments, but it is vital for parents to remember the purpose of elementary homework: to assist their students in fine-tuning skills learned in the classroom.

While dealing with common elementary homework challenges, a lot of different complaints can arise in a student—all of which are totally normal. Parents can help with elementary homework challenges by utilizing certain techniques, such as establishing a homework schedule or reviewing sections of the textbook with their students.

Here is how you, as a parent, can help resolve homework challenges your student might be facing:

When elementary students feel they have too much homework

On the surface, this can appear to be a simple excuse of not wanting to complete the assignments. It can, however, be a sign of something else: that the homework is feeling too hard for your student. Every student learns differently, and sometimes, an assignment may take different amounts of time for different students to complete. Also, it could be due to the student not having enough time to fully understand the concepts prior to the homework being assigned. This could simply mean your student needs to take some extra time before beginning the assignment to reread over the concept to get a better grasp of it.  

It could be helpful to have a designated, distraction-free, homework area in the house for your student to concentrate better. Remember, when your student says there is too much homework, there could be underlying issues that you can work together to solve. If your student feels a concept or class is consistently too hard, there are a few things you can do:

  • Read through the textbook or handouts with your student

  • Clarify things that might not be clicking

  • Talk to the teacher to see if there are any extra materials he or she can provide

[RELATED: How to Help Your Elementary School Student Cope with Test Anxiety]

Make an elementary homework schedule with your student

If your student feeling “too tired” to complete homework is a common occurrence, it may be time to reevaluate his or her scheduling. While extracurriculars are important to your child's growth and development, homework does come first. Examine your student’s agenda to see if there are better ways in which homework can be scheduled to help with this challenge. Perhaps completing assignments earlier in the evening can help prevent exhaustion from extracurriculars before homework. If your student has a lot of activities going on, working homework into that weekly schedule ahead of time can help your student learn to prioritize and balance tasks.

Encourage your student to ask teachers about homework challenges

Your elementary student “not knowing what the teacher wants” is oftentimes a large complaint. It can become frustrating to have your student come home with a lot of assignments and have no idea what to do for them. If this is a common occurrence, have your student begin to have conversations with teachers in an effort to better understand assignments and concepts. This is also a good habit to instill in your student at a young age; the earlier he or she knows how to approach teachers to ask for clarification, the better luck your student will have with assignments throughout his or her education.   

[RELATED: 5 Questions to Ask Your Student's New Teacher]

Also, if a child doesn’t seem to like a specific teacher, it can definitely become another factor that contributes to a lack of desire to complete the homework. Ask your student to explain further where the dislike is stemming from. It could be a case of not liking the amount of work assigned or certain classroom rules, for instance. Encourage your student to have an open, honest conversation with you about these concerns; they may end up being minor issues that you can help him or her work past.

If, however, you find there is a deeper issue of disrespect or negative behaviors in the classroom, it is important to speak with the teacher personally. Request a meeting with him or her to find out if it is simply a misunderstanding or if higher action needs to be taken.

[RELATED: Elementary School Parent-Teacher Conferences: What to Ask]

At the end of the day, homework is a necessity in your student's life. It exists for many reasons, but primarily to help strengthen skills learned in the classroom. There may be challenges or long nights, but the important thing is to stay focused on encouraging your child’s ability to complete the tasks at hand. Staying motivated and focused will help both you and your child progress toward a positive educational future.

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