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September 13, 2023
By Middle School Faculty
Homework Best Practices for Middle School Parents
The Middle School years provide an incredible opportunity for your children to take meaningful risks and gradually develop lifelong skills of resilience and independence.
While the stakes are low, children can try new strategies and figure out what works for them and what does not. They can practice ways to achieve balance while tackling increasingly complex academic work and a heavier workload. It's not about the grades and the points at this level; it's about learning skills, working through struggles and developing confidence.
To ensure that these years can be the training ground your student needs them to be, all of the adults around them play an important role — providing the right amount of structure and guidance while leaving room for stumbles. This “coaching” role is difficult for both educators and parents. Flint Hill teachers and parents have found the following tips to be the most helpful for guiding daily homework for the majority of students.
Carve Out Space and Time for Homework
- Location: A central spot may work better than a child’s bedroom.
- Resources: Lighting, pens/pencils, index cards, charging station, etc.
- Limit distractions: Keep down any noise, put phones in another room, close social media and messaging on the computer or tablet.
- Time: Make sure there's an end time in mind, especially if it's close to your child's bedtime.
Open Daily Assignments Together
Consider what's due the following day as well as what's coming up during the week.
Ask About Your Child’s Plan/Priority
- Order of assignments
- Estimated time for each, incorporating any planned breaks
Help Redirect When Your Child Is Stuck
If your child is stuck or asks for your help, guide them to class resources (whether they're online, recent quizzes, textbooks, or something else).
Physically leave the area as a clear indication that the work is designed to be your child’s independent effort (and that you believe in them to do it).
Instruct and Guide Follow-Up with the Teacher as Necessary
If your child remains confused or cannot move forward, encourage (or help) them to email or otherwise reach out to their teacher. For example: “I was not sure how to do #4; can I come see you after class tomorrow?”
Note What Is Complete (Not Necessarily Perfect) and What Remains
- At the end of the allotted homework time (generally 1-2 hours), have your child show you what they have completed. Then adhere to the time limit and call it a night.
- If your child is anxious about having pieces incomplete, you may need to email the teacher to note that your child spent a certain number of minutes on the assignment and that you imposed a time limit.
Congratulate Yourself for Moving Closer to Long-Term Success
Consider a self high-five, an herbal tea, a snack, or some other beverage. You're doing great! Your child is fortunate that you are so invested in their well-being and education.
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