Homework Tips

Charles Emmrys PhD


  • Find a place with a clear surface where there is good light.
  • It is best if there is a wall along the back of the work space so that there is nothing to look at.
  • There should be lots of legroom.

Setting Up the Space

  • Arrange all the books and scribblers into subjects and pile them in a place away from the work space.
  • Take the books and scribblers for one subject at a time and place it on the work space and invite the child to work on that one subject.
  • When that one subject is finished, place it in another place and take the materials for the next subject, place it on the work surface and ask the child to do the next task.
  • As homework gets done the “to do” pile gets smaller and the “done” pile gets bigger.

Arranging the Order of the Work

  • It is a good idea to start with the easiest or shortest subject first. It is a way to just get the homework started on a good note.
  • The second subject should be the hardest one to do since the child still has energy so should tackle the one that presents as the greatest challenge while they have the attention span to do so.
  • The subjects then are present in order of difficulty with the next hardest, the next hardest and the next hardest until the homework is done.


  • Homework usually can be done in 30 minutes until grade 5. If it takes longer, build in stretch breaks between subjects.

Parent Support

  • Some children need parent support to do their homework. There are three forms of support. These are:
    1. Physical proximity – just being in the same room and answering questions on an as need basis. Usually, the parent does the least possible.
    2. Sitting next to the child – which means being next to the child on a chair and watching the child work. The parent is usually more active as a helper but should be there to answer questions.
    3. Active organizer – where each section of a homework assignment is explained by the parent and where ways of tackling the problem are offered almost at each section of the work.
  • The parent should offer the least support possible but should not offer so little that nothing gets done.

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