Print out a Homework Chart:
Click on image to print out a larger version
Sit down with your child and set realistic homework goals. A great way to do this is to provide your child with a date book for school. Each day before your child comes home from school, they need to fill out any homework assignments that need to be completed for the rest of the week. Check the date book daily. Fill out the bottom of the chart together. This way your child knows exactly what is expected of them to receive a reward. You can use this chart to assist you in picking out a reward.
Explain to your child that they get to color in a star every night upon completion of their homework. Explain to them that you must look over their homework before they can color in the star. If homework is not completed, they cannot color a star.
If your child's homework is full of mistakes, take this opportunity to go over the homework with them. Explain how it is done and let them try and fix their mistakes themselves. Do not fix their mistakes for them. Let them go to school with incorrect answers. This is important to learning. The teacher needs to know what level your child is at in order to better assist them with their educational plan.
Place the chart in an area where it is easily seen. Perhaps the refrigerator or kitchen bulletin board.
At the end of the week look at the chart together. If your child has won their reward, they must receive it that day for it to be effective. If they have not reached their goal, discuss why. Perhaps they are having trouble with certain subjects or the goals of your program may be too high to reach at this time. Change your goals as needed.
If you find that your child is not receiving homework at least twice a week, contact their teacher. Perhaps your child is not bringing home work. Or, maybe the teacher does not believe in homework. If this is the case, I would suggest giving your child homework yourself. It is good practice for later in their educational experience. Give them some reading, spelling and a bit of math. Talk about science or do an experiment together. Make it fun!
Another problem some parents have is that the teacher gives too much homework to their students. Although homework is important and should be given nightly, a reasonable workload should be expected. If you find your elementary school child is doing 3 hours of homework a night, you might want to talk to the teacher about the workload. I have found that children in grades 1-3 do well with a half hour to an hour of homework. A child in grades 4-6 do well with an hour to an hour and half of homework. Children in grades 7 and 8 should be doing two to two and half hours of homework a night.
If you want, you can print out these rewards to give to your child each week. How about making another reward they can work towards. If they get 4 printed out rewards in the month, they can purchase a video or cd. Maybe go to the movies with a friend, your treat. Choose something very special.
Sometimes this program fails to work because your child needs to receive an award daily instead of weekly. If this is the case, change the program to meet their needs. Have a small nightly reward chosen and a larger weekly award.