Effective ways to help kids with their homework

Steve Reifman, Teacher, Author and Speaker, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your child with homework and how much assistance is the right amount
How to Best Help Your Child with Homework
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Effective ways to help kids with their homework

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When helping kids with homework, it’s important for parents to provide just the right amount of assistance. The analogy I like to make in this situation is with people lifting weights at the gym. Imagine my friend, Mike, is bench pressing and he does the first 6 reps completely independently. But then on the 7th rep, he begins to struggle. At that point, I have 3 choices – I could do nothing, but that could likely end our friendship and perhaps result in injury; the second choice, I could grab the bar and finish the rep all by myself, but by doing it all by myself, Mike has no opportunity to grow, he has no opportunity to go beyond what he could do before starting his workout that day; the third thing that I could do is put my hands under the bar and gently raise the bar as Mike is also making a big effort. The key is to provide just enough effort to keep the bar moving while he’s doing the lifting. So the same idea holds true when we’re helping kids with homework. We don’t want to help too much and deprive them of a learning opportunity – we don’t want to help them too little and cause them to struggle and grow frustrated and perhaps shut down. We want to help them just enough to keep moving. So the specific steps I recommend are to read the directions for the homework before the kids start working, answer any questions. Then the kids begin as independently as possible, we’re there to answer questions if necessary. And then at the very end, we can go over everything, make any corrections, go over the material. So by the end the kids will have finished their homework, but we’re there to support them, but they’re doing as much as they can independently.

Steve Reifman, Teacher, Author and Speaker, shares advice for parents on the best methods for helping your child with homework and how much assistance is the right amount

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Steve Reifman

Teacher, Author & Speaker

Steve Reifman is a National Board Certified elementary school teacher, author, and speaker in Santa Monica, CA. He has written several resource books for educators and parents, including Changing Kids’ Lives One Quote at a TimeEight Essentials for Empowered Teaching and Learning, K-8, and Rock It! In addition, Steve has created a series of shorter, e-book resources for educators, including The First 10 Minutes: A Classroom Morning Routine that Reaches and Teaches the Whole ChildThe First 30 Days: Start Your School Year with 4 Priorities in Mind, and 2-Minute Biographies for Kids: Inspirational Success Stories About 19 Famous People and the Importance of Education. He is also the creator of the Chase Manning Mystery Series for children 8-12 years of age. For Teaching Tips, articles, and other valuable resources and strategies on teaching the whole child, visit and subscribe at stevereifman.com.  subscribe to his “Teaching Kids” YouTube channel, check out his two professional development courses for educators on Udemy.com, and visit his Teachers Pay Teachers page.

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