Are You a Homework Helper or Sergeant Major?

My daughter completed French immersion grade one in the spring.  One of her homework assignments was to present to her class five French words used in sentences. Relatively easy right?  Let’s just say thank goodness for Google translation!

The last time I spoke in French was twenty years ago! We practised for one week straight.  I rediscovered how annoying the “ummms” and swaying back and forth as you speak are.  I was telling my daughter, “Hello, I’m here, quit looking at the floor,” or “Don’t say it like this… say it like that”.  Next thing I knew I had transformed into a sergeant major!

She got a “B”, but I couldn’t help think there must be a better way to do this!  I also had a similar experience with her English speech assignment.  Is the homework getting too hard?  I’m worried of what this year’s homework is going to be like…?  I certainly don’t want to take this young student’s approach to getting homework help:   Kid calls 911 for help with homework.

Over the summer, I did a lot of reading on how to help my child with her homework and asked friends and colleagues what they did.  This year, I’m going to try some new strategies.

Here are the best tips I found for helping your child with homework:

  • Let your child relax after school.
  • Ask your child about their homework.
  • Set a regular time and arrange a place to do homework.
  • Help your child get started. Remove any distractions.
  • Offer praise and encouragement while your child is working.
  • Prompt your child to solve problems.
  • Show an interest and say something positive about your child’s work.
  • Praise and reward your child when they have finished doing their homework.
  • Talk to your child’s teacher if you have any concerns about your child’s homework.

These key lessons came from Halton Region’s Triple P Programming:    Triple P Ontario – Homework Help Tip Sheet and Triple P Podcasts.  The Ministry of Education of Ontario also provides great tips on how to help your child with homework.

Just remember, you are not alone.  Homework help is available.  Be available to your child and access the support needed.  In the words of Dr. Ross Green, “Kids do well if they can.” Our job is to give or get them the tools and support they need to do well.

Share your experience:

For more tips and hints about helping your child with homework, or to share your experience, there are many ways you can talk to one of us directly:

  • Leave us a comment below – we’d love your feedback
  • Talk to us on Twitter: @haltonparents
  • Email us at
  • Dial 311 or 905-825-6000 for parenting information or to speak directly to a Public Health Nurse every Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

About this guest blogger:

Jane Smithson, RN is a Public Health Nurse working with parents, school staff, and students on the Elementary School Team, School Years Program in the Halton Region Health Department. She has worked on this team for nine years.  Prior to this, Jane worked in the Healthy Babies Healthy Children program, and atMount SinaiHospitalinToronto.  When Jane is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters ages five and seven years.

This entry was posted in Children & Tweens, Emotional Well-Being & Mental Health for Your Child/Tween, Parenting, Parenting Your Child/Tween, Parenting Your Teen, Teens and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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