Homework and the Third-Grader

Find out how much responsibility your third-grader should have when it comes to homework.
My son is eight-years-old, and he is in third grade. Should I be sitting with him as he does his homework or should I let him work alone and only come to me when he has a problem? Also, how do I go about teaching him study skills? Are there books on this?
Homework definitely needs to be your son's responsibility. And now is the time to give it to him. Don't sit by your child as he does his work, or you may find yourself sitting by him when he is a senior in high school. The more help you give your son now, the more helpless he will become.

If your son has a problem with his homework, teach him to reread the directions and study any examples of how the work is to be done. If this is not sufficient help, advise him to study textbook explanations of the assignment. Do not jump in to help him until he has taken these steps, and you will have given your son a valuable study skill.

You are right to be concerned about teaching your child good study habits. Schools don't always teach children how to handle their work. Here are some suggestions for you:

  1. Have your child use an assignment notebook so he knows what homework is required each day.
  2. Introduce a planning calendar and show your son how to use it when he begins to have long-term assignments.
  3. Help your child learn how to organize his study time. Each day he should preview the assignments that he has to do and get the tough tasks out of the way first. He should write down the order in which he will do assignments.
  4. Teach your child to review his work frequently.
  5. Get your child an organizer, and show him how to use it so that he has a system for organizing all his school papers.
  6. Have your child use a book bag to transport books and papers.
  7. Encourage your child to establish a regular time for doing homework.
  8. Your son should keep old quizzes and tests to prepare for future tests.
  9. Eliminate distractions such as phone calls and television during homework time.
  10. Establish a regular place for doing homework. One book that will give you insight into homework and teaching study skills to your child is How To Help Your Child With Homework published by Free Spirit Publishing.
Peggy Gisler and Marge Eberts are experienced teachers who have more than 60 educational publications to their credit. They began writing books together in 1979. Careers for Bookworms was a Book-of-the-Month Club paperback selection, and Pancakes, Crackers, and Pizza received recognition from the Children's Reading Roundtable. Gisler and Eberts taught in classrooms from kindergarten through graduate school. Both have been supervisors at the Butler University Reading Center.

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