Helping Without Taking Responsibility for Homework

I am grateful to Amy Campbell, school counselor from the Rawson Saunders School for Dyslexia for making another contribution to this blog. Her words about homework provide guidance to parents and grandparents who want to help.  Thank you, Amy.


Knowing how to best support children with their homework can be a complex task that can sometimes leave parents looking for help. Here are some general things to consider when approaching homework with kids:

Remember it is your child’s homework (not your homework) and communication is key. I encourage parents to think of their role in homework as “the guide on the side.” Providing some support can be appropriate, but if you feel that your child needs a lot of support or hovering, let the teacher know.   Additionally, incomplete or incorrect homework can help provide authentic insight to teachers about many things that could be happening in a student’s learning process.
Study Space. Both this year and last year, the first “assignment” for students in the RS schoolwide study skills initiative was for students to set up and organize their study space at home. Creating a study space encourages students to get in the habit of working in a space that supports them doing work and it further legitimizes that homework is an important task that requires a special space. Potential for distractions/noise, organization, and materials around the space are all important pieces for students to consider.

Reflect on resistance. There are many things that can attribute to students being resistant to homework. These things could include, but are not limited to, fatigue, challenges with memory, power struggles, lack of confidence, etc. Sometimes it comes down to a student simply refusing to do it because they do not want to. In those cases, try handing the problem back to your child and letting the logical consequence come in to play. For example, “I know your teacher expects you to do this homework, so you may want to think about what explanation you’re going to give your teacher about why it is not completed. It’s a bummer that your choice is going to lower your grade.”Untitled