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Encourage children to tackle homework
From eNews, Aug. 31, 2006
School is starting--and with it the homework assignments that your child should be bringing home.
"What's essential is that you make it clear that homework is important," says Kathleen Olson, family relations specialist with the University of Minnesota Extension Service. Because if children don't understand the purpose of homework, the reason they have to do it, and how it will benefit them, then homework will be an unfulfilling experience. Teachers give homework to reinforce skills that have been taught during the school day and to keep track of your child's progress.
Back-to-school: save receipts for
Minnesota has two programs--the K-12 education subtraction and the K-12 education credit--intended to help families pay expenses related to their child's K-12 grade education. Eligible expenses include:
* Textbooks and other instructional materials, such as paper, pens, pencils, notebooks and rulers for subjects normally taught in public school.
* Rental fees or cost of educational equipment such as musical instruments and calculators.
* Up to $200 worth of computer hardware or educational software.
* Tuition for summer camps with an academic focus, such as language or fine arts.
For a complete list of qualifying expenses, visit the Minnesota Department of Revenue or call 651-296-3781. To learn more about the tax credit, listen to U of M Moment.
The bottom line: Children who spend more time on homework do better in school, according to the U.S. Department of Education. And the academic benefits increase as children move into the upper grades. Here are some general tips from Extension's family relations experts:
- Set aside a regular time and place for homework. Turn off the television and discourage social telephone calls from friends. However, encourage your child to call friends about homework issues.
- If you can, be nearby and encourage your child to ask questions. To set an example, you may want to be working on something of your own. For instance, you might balance a checkbook. Or, if your work requires it, even do your "homework." The important thing is that your child knows that you are available for them.
- Ask your child how things are going. Perhaps they could do a math problem for you, or describe what they've been reading. Then, when your child needs help, your goal should be to help them do it themselves. Suggest that they try certain approaches. Help them find information. Work an example for them. Ask lots of questions. And don't be afraid to say, "I don't know." Remember: you're a guide, not the teacher.
- If you can't physically be there, you can still set aside a time and place and check on their homework when you get a chance.
For a variety of information on helping your children learn, visit the U of M Extension Service.