September Tech-Tools

Joe Walker and Claysville Elementary

A Good Start

Our goal, as educators and as parents, is to provide children with a positive approach to learning. This newsletter provides resources on motivating children to learn, homework help, staying organized, and balancing busy schedules.


Check out this great article from Family Education that offers information on homework help tips, free printable homework charts and contracts, understanding the Common Core, motivating children, and much more!

http://school.familyeducation.com/homework/activity/34550.html

Homework Help Websites

Below are some excellent resources for homework help!

WatchKnowLearn provides free educational videos for teachers and parents.


"Time for Kids" Homework Helper offers a flash-card maker, grammar wizard, writers toolbox, and more!


HomeworkSpot is a free homework information portal that provides access to K-12 homework related sites.


Kid Info is a site that offers homework help for kids, parent information, resources for teachers, and Power Points for learning.


Fact Monster from Information Please is a website that shares a slew of resources. In the Homework Center, you will find academic resources in addition to study skills, and information on speaking and listening skills!

Tips for Helping Kids with Homework and Study Habits

Certain key practices will make life easier for everyone in the family when it comes to study time and study organization. However, some of them may require an adjustment for other members of the family.


Turn off the TV set.

Make a house rule, depending on the location of the set, that when it is study time, it is "no TV" time. A television set that is on will draw youngsters like bees to honey.


What about the radio?

Should it be on or off? Contrary to what many specialists say, some youngsters do seem to function all right with the radio turned on to a favorite music station. (Depending on the layout of your house or apartment, maybe an investment in earphones would be worthy of consideration.)


Certain rules should be set about the family phone during study hours.

The more people in the household, the more restrictions on long and unnecessary phone calls are needed. A timer, placed next to the phone, can help to control the length of calls so that the telephone will be available if it becomes necessary to call a schoolmate to confirm an assignment or discuss particularly difficult homework.


Designate specific areas for homework and studying.

Possibilities include the child's room or the kitchen or dining room table. Eliminate as much distraction as possible.

Since many young people will study in their own rooms, function becomes more important than beauty. Most desks for young people really don't have sufficient space to spread out materials. A table that allows for all necessary supplies such as pencils, pens, paper, books, and other essentials works extremely well.


Keeping general supplies on hand is important. Check with your child about his needs. In fact, make it his responsibility to be well supplied with paper, pencils, note pads, notebook paper, et cetera.


Regularity is a key factor in academic success.

Try to organize the household so that supper is served at a standard time, and once meal time and family discussions are over, it's time to crack the books. If the student doesn't have other commitments and gets home reasonably early from school, some homework can be done before supper.

Consider you child's developmental level when setting the amount of time for homework. While high school students can focus for over an hour, first-graders are unlikely to last more than 15 minutes on a single task. Allow your child to take breaks, perhaps as a reward for finishing a section of the work.


Organize study and homework projects.

Get a large calendar, one that allows space for jotting down things in the daily boxes. This will serve as a reminder so that things aren't set aside until the last dangerous moment.


Teach your child that studying is more than just doing homework assignments. One of the most misunderstood aspects of schoolwork is the difference between studying and doing homework assignments. Encourage your child to do things like:

  • take notes as he's reading a chapter
  • learn to skim material
  • learn to study tables and charts
  • learn to summarize what he has read in his own words
  • learn to make his own flashcards for quick review of dates, formulas, spelling words, et cetera


Note-taking is a critical skill and should be developed.

Many students don't know how to take notes in those classes that require them. Some feel they have to write down every word the teacher says. Others have wisely realized the value of an outline form of note-taking. Well prepared teachers present their material in a format that lends itself to outline form note taking.


Should notes ever be rewritten?

In some cases, they should be, particularly if a lot of material was covered, and the youngster had to write quickly but lacks speed and organization. Rewriting notes takes time, but it can be an excellent review of the subject matter. However, rewriting notes isn't worth the time unless they are used for review and recall of important information.


A home dictionary is essential, but if it is kept on a shelf to gather dust, it won't do anyone any good. Keep it in an accessible place and let your child see you refer to it from time to time.

Good dictionary, encyclopedia and organizational skills depend on the ability to alphabetize. See if your child's teacher practices alphabetizing in class. Try alphabetizing spelling words, family members' names or a few favorite toys at home as a way of practicing.


Help your child to feel confident for tests.

Taking tests can be a traumatic experience for some students. Explain to your child that burning the midnight oil (cramming) the night before a test is not productive. Better to get a good night's sleep. Students also need reminding that when taking a test, they should thoroughly and carefully read the directions before they haphazardly start to mark their test papers. They should be advised to skip over questions for which they don't know the answers. They can always return to those if there's time. Good advice for any student before taking a test: take a deep breath, relax, and dive in. Always bring an extra pencil just in case.


During a homework session, watch for signs of frustration.

No learning can take place and little can be accomplished if the child is angry or upset over an assignment that is too long or too difficult. At such times the parent may have to step in and simply halt the homework for that night, offering to write a note to the teacher explaining the situation and perhaps requesting a conference to discuss the quality and length of homework assignments.


Should parents help with homework?

Yes-if it is clearly productive to do so, such as calling out spelling words or checking a math problem that won't prove. No-if it is something the child can clearly handle himself and learn from the process. And help and support should always be calmly and cheerfully given. Grudging help is worse than no help at all!

Read directions, or check over math problems after your child has completed the work. Remember to make positive comments - you don't want your child to associate homework with fights at home.


How best to handle report cards?

To save shocks and upsets, gently discuss from time to time "how things are going at school- with your child. Something casual, such as "How did the math test go?" "How did you do on the history report?" "How's your science project coming along? Need any help?" are questions that aren't "third degree" but indicate interest.