Another way to help your child learn the required skills is to help him with homework in the evening. Although you need to be involved, you should not do your child’s homework for him. Parents’ function is to monitor homework, support the child, answer questions and help only when needed.
If the daily classwork papers Carson Caraway brings home from school show he has a problem with math, his mom, Teresa, a speech pathologist, watches for homework assignments and makes it a point to help him with them. She tries to discover what he doesn’t understand; she spends extra time helping him with problems and she tries to help him grasp multiplication or division concepts. She also watches for practical situations where math can be used around the house. For example, she gives Carson and her other son notepads and says, “Okay, boys, we need apples today. They are 69 cents a pound. If we need two-and-a-half pounds, how much are we going to spend?”
Valerie is both a mom and a teacher. She tells us, “I read over my daughter Kelsey’s work and we discuss it. If she’s already gone to bed, I write her a note on a yellow sticky that says something like, ‘I appreciate your work on this’ or ‘What a lot of effort you put into this report! Good job!’ or ‘Maybe we need to practice this together.'”
Kelsey goes to a big school with classes of more than 30 children. It would be easy for her teacher to overlook her and any problems she might be having. However, even though Valerie is a full-time working mother, she doesn’t wait until a problem becomes serious. She watches the daily classwork, and if Kelsey’s grades drop, Valerie immediately talks to the teacher, asking, “Are there problems? What can I do to help?”
Watch for opportunities to communicate with your child about his school experiences. The car ride home from school or snack after school provide chances for parents and children to discuss the school day. You can also make school and what your children are learning part of family dinnertime conversations.