Your Age-by-Age Guide to Homework

Are you scared to look in your child’s book bag at the end of the day?

And I’m not talking about the forgotten sandwiches that migrate to the bottom of a full backpack.

I mean the dreaded homework assignments that loom within folders and binders, just waiting to be ignored and fought over for the rest of the evening.

Typically when parents think of the word “homework”, they quickly associate it with the term “fight”.

But homework doesn’t have to be a fight – a struggle at times, yes, but now a full out war.

Understanding what homework looks like at each grade level is a great start to helping support your child in completing their school work.

Also, the earlier you focus on creating an environment of learning and studying, the easier time your child will have as they progress through school.

Here’s your guide on setting up your child for academic success as well as what kind of homework to expect for each grade:

Setting Up For Success

From day one, homework is important in developing good study skills.

In order to encourage your child to complete their homework and take it seriously, you need to establish a proper homework environment.

Here are some tips for setting your child up for homework success:

  • Set a regular homework time. Homework should be done at the same time each evening to establish a routine. Just make sure you’re allowing your little one some time to decompress when they get home before jumping into more schoolwork.
  • Create a study area. Give your child a place to with proper lighting, materials and few to now distractions.
  • Keep an eye on their work. Involve yourself in the process not only by helping them with homework, but monitoring their progress as well.
  • Be a role model. While you may not have homework at this stage in your life, you can model good study habits by reading and pursuing your own learning opportunities.

You may think your child is a little Einstein when they start school, but the learning material will progressively get more difficult as they age.

Encouraging good study habits will give them the skills they need to continue their success through school.

Grade-by-Grade Homework Guide

Kindergarten

When your little one is in kindergarten, it’s likely they won’t have much for homework.

However, you may find the teacher sending home easy tasks such as practicing sight words, letters, numbers and working on patterns.

Since there shouldn’t be a lot of academic expectation from children this young, it’s easy to navigate the homework by making it fun and play-based.

Children learn best through tactile activities, so materials such as PlayDoh can be used to create numbers and letters as well as designing patterns using different colors.

A whiteboard is a great tool to practice what they are learning, especially sight words. Write out the word, have your child read it and let them erase it before moving on to the next one.

Kindergarten homework tends to be pretty repetitive, meaning that your child is likely going to practice the same material each night on a week-to-week basis.

Even if your little one is catching on quick to the material, it’s important to keep up with the homework habit. This is going to help them develop healthy studying habits as they move from grade to grade.

Elementary School: Grades 1 to 2

Once your child moves from kindergarten into grade 1, the learning environment becomes less play-based and more academic.

This doesn’t mean you can’t continue making homework fun! At this age, their focus is still on playing, so you can keep using novel materials when doing homework.

The workload is likely not going to increase during these grades, but the material may become more challenging.

In order to keep homework from becoming too time consuming, you may have to mix straight-up review with play.

Use unique activities when it comes to concepts your child is struggling with and quick reviews for the learning objectives they have easily grasped.

By these grades, teachers typically encourage your child to be reading. This aspect of homework can be delayed until bedtime – which makes reading seem less like “work” and more like a leisurely activity.

Elementary School: Grades 3 to 5

By the time your little one enters grade 3, and until they finish elementary school, they should begin to complete their homework independently.

While it’s important that you remain on standby to help them with difficult concepts, you should be able to set up each homework activity and allow them to complete them on their own.

During this time, students begin to progress from simply practicing basic skills and mastering them onto more complex skills.

This means that homework is going to become more challenging, which is why focusing on a good homework routine during these grades is very important.

If you find your child resisting their homework at this age, there’s nothing wrong with offering an incentive for completing it. Try to stay away from monetary rewards and focus more on fun activities they can engage in once homework is completed.

Remember to not make homework seem like a cumbersome chore – instead, cheer your child on as they work through it. Praise them for doing a good job.

Middle School: Grades 6 to 8

Once your child hits middle school, they should be able to complete their homework assignments on their own.

Homework at this grade level is going to shift more heavily from practicing concepts to completing assignments such as essays and projects.

This is the beginning stages of the foundation of study skills they will need to succeed in high school as well as college or university.

During this time, students are beginning to rely more on technology to complete their assignments. Make sure your child has access to a tablet or computer they can use to conduct research as well as seek help for their homework.

However, it’s important for you to stay involved in their progress. Regular check-ins with their homework will not only help your child stay on track but it will also show them that you want to be involved in their education.

High School: Grades 9 to 12

It’s in high school where a student’s homework load balloons and becomes more time consuming than it was before.

Luckily, kids at these grade levels are able to choose a portion of their courses, so they have a vested interest in what they are learning.

However, with all the changes they are experiencing emotionally and physically, this period of their lives can be extremely stressful.

Maintaining that homework routine is more important now than ever. Stressed-out teens may become overwhelmed with the workload and feel compelled on throwing in the towel on completing homework assignments.

Continue to be supportive by helping them plan and prepare for homework assignments as well as tests and exams.

While you may not be able to help them with the homework material (what is “new” math, anyway?), you can certainly lend a hand when it comes to time management and getting the homework done.

You Can Make the Difference

When left to their own devices, children can’t be expected to take their schoolwork 100% seriously.

It’s your job as the parent to support and guide them through their homework and assignments.

Building good habits now is going to make all the differences as your child progresses through school.

How do you deal with homework hurdles? Share your tips in the comments!

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