Parenting: The Homework Whisperer

October 3, 2011

Some of you suggested Heather Beals, a Student Support Advocate at Calvary Christian Academy in the Somerton section of Philadelphia. We visited her to find out what homework whispering is all about.

Beals says if you are having trouble getting your child into that homework thing, job one is getting him or her on board.

When asked what she thought of homework, student Kaitlyn Fernandez said "Sometimes it's not that fun." When asked why not, she said "Because it's hard."

First, Beals says, fix the attitudes - yours included - and don't worry if you don't understand the subject.

"Parents do not need to be content experts, that's what the teachers are there for and teachers would readily explain that," she said.

"When I don't get it, I just stop doing it, and I put my head on the table," said student Ethan Hill.

Next, Beals says get organized. Create a workspace with plenty of room for books, a container of pencils or pens, and - believe it or not - incorporate a rewards system.

Beals explains that, as adults, "when we come to work we receive a paycheck. The same goes true for any sort of learning."

Beals says homework should be done where mom and dad are nearby, not in a bedroom with the doors closed and auditory isolation, which can actually reduce concentration.

Also, don't help too much, or too little.

"It's fine to help them start their homework. You can do a few problems with them, but learn how to fade yourself out of the process," said Beals.

Finally, remember the three A's: Be available, be alert, and ask the right questions.

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