Paulette Chaffee, Experienced Teacher, Reveals How to Take the Headache Out of Homework

The phrase “I have homework” can be daunting not only for students but for parents, too. Yet, homework is an unavoidable element to any level of education and a critical piece to understanding and retaining essential knowledge. Here, Paulette Chaffee, a long-time educator, offers tips to parents whose children might have difficulty completing homework.

Tip #1: Be present

Parents can better assist with homework when they choose to be completely present with their children. Parents play a critical role in helping their children improve time management and build good homework habits. For parents who are not currently practicing this tip and dealing with a child who is reluctant to do homework, try sitting down and focusing on completely letting go of all frustrations and being patient and present during homework time.

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Tip #2: Turn off any background noise

If possible, parents should make sure there is no background noise, such as television or music, going on throughout the house when children are doing homework. Creating a quiet space for children to focus on completing school assignments will cut back on distractions and foster a peaceful, stress-free environment.

Tip #3: Remember, the parent is the guide, and the child is the student

It might be tempting for parents to save time and appease their children by sharing the correct answers or doing the work themselves. However, children benefit from schoolwork the most when a parent remembers to guide their child through understanding concepts while using positive reinforcement. Parents should allow the child to be the student and support the development of an independent, self-motivated learner.

Tip #4: Create a “work before play” boundary

It is critical for parents to establish the importance of completing school assignments in a positive environment with healthy boundaries. These boundaries help children see assignments as less of a task and more of an opportunity. In addition, setting boundaries such as “work before play” and being a positive role model as a parent will assist in showing a child the benefit of working hard and managing time.

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Tip #5: Designate a homework area

Students who have a designated desk or area to do their homework can stay more organized. In addition, parents can help students by always having supplies nearby when an assignment requires materials like a ruler, paper, pencils, or a stapler.

Tip #6: Learn alongside

If a child doesn’t typically want help with homework but tends to procrastinate when working alone, parents can still help support homework hours by learning alongside their child. The beauty of learning comes from realizing that the process is an endless journey for the human mind. When parents work independently alongside their children, this helps instill self-motivation to push through learning curves without giving up.

Tip #7: Try and gauge a child’s best homework time

Every student is different, so as a parent, gauging the best time to establish a routine homework session is critical to determine when a child will be able to focus. For example, some children want to come home immediately after school and tackle any school assignments for the day. On the other hand, others might need a snack or time to decompress after school before tackling homework.

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About Paulette Chaffee

Paulette Chaffee is a teacher, speech therapist, and attorney deeply involved in the Fullerton community. As an educator and member of various non-profit boards, her focus has always been on providing children with the highest quality education. Ms. Chaffee holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Redlands, a California Lifetime Teaching Credential, and is admitted to the California Bar