With the new school year underway, responsible parents find themselves in the position of homework monitor.  Most of our sons are being reared by single parents, so the idea of taking on that “second job” after putting in a hard day’s work is exhausting and, often, frustrating.  Essence writer, Kemba Dunham, offers some useful ideas in her article, “The Homework Solution,” that might be helpful.  Here are some of her tips:

  • Take a Breather – Start monitoring the homework after taking a little break after work..  It could make you feel more patient and ready to help your son.
  • Establish a Routine – Create a structure for the child(ren) to get homework done.  Among other ideas, Dunham describes the following:
    • Block out a nightly working hour for the entire household in which everyone in the house is doing the same thing at the same time
    • Make sure that all supplies and reference tools are easy to locate before the “household” homework time begins.
  • Divide and Conquer – If there are two parents in the household, it might be helpful for them to divide the children so that each parent is responsible for helping a certain child (or children).  Parents should pair up with the child(ren) whose learning style or schedule best matches theirs.
  • Work in Shifts – A single parent does not have the luxury of having help from a partner, so it might work better for him or her to give each child a period of undivided attention rather than splitting time among the children at the same time.  The other child(ren) can eat, play, or do other independent activities while you work with a sibling.
  • Fit It In – Help your child find more homework time as they commute to and from after-school activities.  Make sure that they have supplies in their book bags so that they can use opportunities to get some of their assignments started.  Discussing some of their assignments during meals provides another opportunity for helping them to decide on an approach to getting an assignment done.
  • Let Go – Parents should not try to make their children’s homework perfect.  Often parents get so involved that the child’s assignments are not completely their own.  Children need to do their own homework.
  • Connect With the Teacher – Use email and telephone calls to let the teacher know about significant situations that might impact a child’s performance.  Parents need to be proactive rather than reactive about communicating with a teacher.
  • Other Strategies
    • Find a Tutor
    • Get an Older Sibling to Help
    • Ask the Teacher for Assistance
    • Go Online
    • Encourage Partnership With Peers