Middle school students are getting assigned more and more homework all the time and it is important that they form solid study habits early on. Parents can help them form study skills by supporting and helping their child with homework and other assignments. This can be done by letting your child know that you consider their homework to be important - not just by making them do it, but by participating in the process and doing what you can to help.
Set a Time
Setting a regular time for studying is fundamental for homework success. If other commitments require you to be flexible, plan things a week at a time and keep up with the schedule. Write it down or make a chart for the refrigerator door. Help your child stick to the plan.
Find a Place
Give your child a place of his or her own to do their homework. Make sure there is good light, adequate space and all the materials they will need for projects. The place should be private enough that they can leave things undone and come back to them, without having to clean up the materials at the end of each homework period.
Control the Environment
Make sure there are no distractions. Turn off the television and prohibit telephone calls during homework time. Background music can be helpful, but favorite pop songs are not a good idea. Total isolation may not be a good idea as some children find comfort in the sounds of family life going on around them and actually study better when they are part of things. Listen to your child and observe their behavior at homework time. Try to strike the balance between what they want and what they need in a study environment.
Join in the Fun!
If at all possible, start and maintain a study project of your own. This will help your child see learning as a useful, positive thing with a purpose outside of school. And it will help them to see that school is just a small part of a life-long education over which they will someday have control. If your child sees you sit down to a book each night, they will feel partnership in their own efforts. Also, it will keep you accessible if they have questions or to monitor progress.
Show interest in their school life by asking your child what they are studying. Help them to accept the need to do the things they may not like and get the most out of the things they do enjoy. Find out about your child’s day, what made them happy or what troubled them. As much as possible, get involved in their homework without doing it for them. A little interest from mom and dad goes a long way to forming the good study and homework habits that will serve your child throughout their academic career.