School Days and Homework Stress

High school students are definitely feeling the pressure. According to a Student Life in America survey from the Princeton Review, 25 percent of students reported that homework was their biggest source of stress followed by grades (18 percent), their desire to do well (17 percent), other children (8 percent), and getting into college (8 percent).

Homework is an opportunity for children to learn and for families to be involved in their children’s education. Here are some tips for parents to help students manage homework:

Mother helping young daughter with homework

Make Homework Routine

Having a regular time to do homework helps children to finish assignments. The best schedule is one that works for your child and your family.

Your child’s outside activities, such as sports or music lessons, may mean that you need a flexible homework schedule. Your child may study after school on some days and after dinner on others. If there isn’t enough time to finish homework, your child may need to drop an activity. Homework is a priority.

Create a Study Space

Your child’s homework area doesn’t need to be fancy. The area should have good lighting and it should be fairly quiet. Your child may enjoy decorating a special area for homework. A plant, a brightly colored container to hold pencils and some favorite artwork taped to the walls can make homework time more pleasant.

Remove Distractions

Turn off the TV and discourage your student from sending and receiving social messages during homework time. Some children work well with quiet background music, but loud noise is not OK. If you live in a small or noisy household, try having all family members take part in a quiet activity during homework time. If distractions cannot be avoided, your child may want to complete assignments in the local library.

Provide Supplies and Identify Resources

Have available pencils, pens, erasers, writing paper and a dictionary. If you can’t provide your child with the needed supplies, check with her teacher, school guidance counselor or principal about possible sources of assistance.

Set a Good Example

Show your child that the skills he is learning are an important part of the things he will do as an adult. Let him see you reading books, newspapers and computer screens; writing reports, letters, e-mails and lists; using math to balance your checkbook or to measure for new carpeting; doing other things that require thought and effort. Tell your child about what you do at work.

Be Interested and Interesting

Make time to take your child to the library to check out materials needed for homework (and for enjoyment) and read with your child as often as you can. Talk about school and learning activities in family conversations. Ask your child what was discussed in class that day. If she doesn’t have much to say, try another approach. For example, ask her to read aloud a story she wrote or to talk about what she found from a science experiment.
Attend school activities, such as parent-teacher conferences, plays, concerts, open houses and sports events. If you can, volunteer to help in your child’s classroom or at special events. Getting to know some of your child’s classmates and their parents builds a support network for you and your child. It also shows your child that his home and school are a team.

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Helping Your Child With Homework, a homework booklet for parents of elementary and junior high school students

For More Information

Download and print Help Your Child Succeed in School, a colorful tip sheet from our Parent Resource Library.