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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 tax returns

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: