Homework is important. Not only does homework enhance new skills and concepts for which there isn't time in the classroom, it's your opportunity to become involved in your teen's learning. Motivating teens (and many times, yourself) to do homework is challenging. To help, keep some simple ideas in mind:
- Set a schedule and post it. Set a regular time for homework, create an actual schedule, post it where everyone in the family can see it, and stick to it.
- Choose the right environment. Find a place within your home where you can concentrate, away from distractions like a television, radio or computer games. It can be the dining room table or an actual home office space. Set and enforce appropriate rules for homework time.
- Keep plenty of supplies on hand. Be prepared with writing paper, a ruler, a stapler, a dictionary and thesaurus within reach. For projects, keep on hand poster paper, paint and anything else your child might need so as to avoid any last-minute dashes to the store.
- Don't use homework as punishment. It should be treated as an opportunity to learn rather than given a negative connotation.
- Lead by example. During homework time, be available to work with your child. Take advantage of the time to learn a new skill for yourself, whether by checking out a how-to book from the library or taking a course from your area community college so you can learn a new skill, too.
The U.S. Office of Education Research and Improvement points out that those children who spend more time on homework, on average, do better in school than those who spend less time. Those benefits increase with higher grade levels, making your high school student's motivation even more important.