From Norfolk Collegiate Head of Lower School Cleteus Smith


While some days will always be better than others, these suggestions can help your child succeed with homework – and help keep the peace in your home. 

1. Be your child’s biggest advocate.

  • Independence is good. But your child still needs you to review her work, question and guide her when necessary, and authentically praise her for her efforts.

2. Guide them. Don’t do it for them.

  • Helping is one thing. Taking total control is something else. Don’t give him the answers or do the project for him. Yes, help. But letting him work it out for himself is how he grows and learns.

3. Be compassionate.

  • Attitude, namely a positive attitude, is everything. The idea is to create a calm and supportive atmosphere that produces results, not tantrums – parent tantrums included.

4. Make it a routine.

  • Establish a consistent time and a calm environment for doing homework. Keep distractions to a minimum. After all, nobody – not you, and not your kid – wants it to drag out any longer than necessary, right?

5. Be a role model.

  • When your child is hard at work on her project, be hard at work on yours. Clear a space on the table next to your child and set up shop. You’ll be modeling responsibility, perseverance and determination, no lecture required.

6. Your way is not the only way.

  • Your math shortcut could actually detour your child from learning the way he is currently being taught. Consistency is the key. Try to stay with the program when possible, and feel free to reach out to the teacher if you have questions.

7. Provide reassurance when times are tough.

  • Give a high five when your child has succeeded, but also know when to throw in the towel with a heartwarming hug when productivity is no longer possible. Just write a note to the teacher explaining why. There’s always tomorrow to try again!