Sitting with your child at the kitchen table and trying to get her to finish her math homework is few parents' idea of fun. Instead of turning schoolwork into an all-night affair, help your student get through the process faster by giving her the tools she requires to get this work done. With a few simple changes to your schoolwork routine, you can shave time off this part of your nightly routine.
Create an environment that is conducive to work. Instead of having your child do his schoolwork in a busy space filled with distractions, select a quiet area where there is nothing to draw his attention away from his work. Depending on how distracted your child gets, this space may need to be separate from the rest of the household. Choose a room with fewer windows, as some students find themselves staring out of the window instead of focusing on the schoolwork at hand.
Set a consistent time. Make schoolwork a routine by setting a standard start time. Try to select a time that is not immediately after school, as your child may be exhausted from the day's academic effort, but not so far into the evening that the child is exhausted and not able to work. A homework start time of 4 p.m. is a wise choice as this gets the task of doing schoolwork out of the way before dinner.
Establish a system. Sit down with your student and develop a homework system. Ask her to tell you the subject she wants to work on first each day. Also, create a system for you to check her homework, having her place all the completed assignments in one folder so you can look them over and make sure they are done.
Practice prioritization. If your child can't prioritize, he may not be able to tackle schoolwork as effectively. Show him how to prioritize by having him list his assignments each day and helping him number them from most to least important. For example, if he has a project that is due in a week, this assignment would be significantly less important than the math work due tomorrow and should, as a result, be further down on the list.
Reward focus. If your child puts effort into focusing on her work, show her that you appreciate this with small rewards. Give your child tokens of appreciation when you catch her focusing on the task at hand, encouraging her to maintain focus more consistently.
Erin Schreiner is a freelance writer and teacher who holds a bachelor's degree from Bowling Green State University. She has been actively freelancing since 2008. Schreiner previously worked for a London-based freelance firm. Her work appears on eHow, Trails.com and RedEnvelope. She currently teaches writing to middle school students in Ohio and works on her writing craft regularly.