Tips from your School Counselor

Spring Semester: HOMEWORK TIPS

Setting up a Homework Routine

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Goal: Create a routine that will help you avoid struggles with your child.

1. Create a designated homework spot. A suggestion is that you have your child do all of his Math and writing at the desk or table, but create a “reading spot” for your child where he can do his assigned reading. This could be a beanbag chair or a regular chair.

2. Decide on a consistent “Homework Time” that you can commit to.

3. Have your child "cue" you when he/she is ready. Have your child open his Planner to today’s date and place it on the cleared workspace. This will be the signal to you that he is ready for you to look at his Agenda/planner. (This might also be a good time for you to review your child's grades with him/her if you are registered for Power Parent).

4. Check your child's agenda/planner.Note: RHMS does not offer the school planner this year.

  • Check that your child has filled in each subject’s homework box in the Planner.
  • If he has not filled in his Planner correctly , withdraw a privilege for that night---watching TV, playing video games, talking on the phone, etc.
  • If he has filled out his Planner correctly, then HE has earned himself his nightly

privilege. He has a new opportunity tomorrow night if he has lost privileges


  • If he does not know what his homework is, have him call a designated “Homework Buddy”—a student who he has exchanged phone numbers with in order to help clarify what the homework is.

5. Have your child create a Homework Plan. See for steps to create a Homework Plan. You may need to modify it to work for you and your child.

Let Technology be the Bad Guy!

Goal: To help your child manage time independently instead of you having to micro-manage him.

  • Most middle schoolers do not have a good sense of time; it’s difficult to get them to complete a task on a set schedule. As a parent, you only have a limited amount of time at the end of the day with your child. Why not take yourself out of the equation just a bit and allow technology to be the "bad guy". See this article by Melissa Mullin Ph.D.

  • Note: The author uses the term "Executive Functioning Skills" throughout the article. That is just another name for organization skills and time-management skills.

The Ten Most Important Questions to Ask At Parent Teacher Conferences

(The following is an excerpt from an article on

1. How is my child doing socially? This one question actually asks a lot of questions. By asking the teacher this you can find out a lot of things, if your child is a bully, being bullied, withdrawn, too outgoing, etc....Knowing if your child is doing okay socially is so important. Social development helps form who we become and you want to make sure your child develops proper social behaviors.

2. Where do you feel my child’s strengths and weaknesses are? This is another important question that asks more than one. You will find out where your child’s strengths are academically and what they enjoy to do. These are two very different things. The teacher may say your child excels in science and loves reading and art. This can help as a parent to encourage your child both academically and in creativity. By knowing what your child’s weaknesses are you can help at home to strengthen their abilities in that subject. There are a ton of online activities for you to share with your child. You can find everything from math games to free books that you can match to any child’s interests.

3. Do you feel my child needs any extra help in school with anything? As a teacher, it’s not easy to tell a parent their child may be lagging pretty far behind in reading or that their may be some delays in other areas. As parents we need to know these things. You are your child’s advocate, which means you have to know what your child needs and make sure they get it.

4. Has my child been doing their homework? If the answer is no, ask the teacher to sign/initial the Planner so you know what he has to do daily.

5. Does my child see the chalkboard okay?...If your child is struggling in school, it is important to rule out vision problems first. Teachers know what to look for in kids who are having trouble seeing.

6. Is my child organized? You can also find this out by looking in your child’s book bag. Organizational skills are extremely important. If you’re afraid to stick your hand in your child’s book bag, it may be wise to work on organization. If your child has everything in place they are much more likely to be prepared and not searching though their desk for what they need still after the teacher starts teaching a subject. This will also cut back on forgotten books or homework.

7. Does my child daydream? Daydreaming isn’t a child misbehaving. We all daydream now and then. If the teacher sees him daydreaming, you can ask the teacher to just touch your child’s shoulder slightly, without saying a word, so the other kids don’t even notice.

8. Do you have any class policies I should know about? Some teachers are stricter than others and their rules reflect that. If you know the teacher’s policies ahead of time, it can save a lot of frustration later.

9. How do you prefer we communicate on any issues? Some teachers prefer to talk on the phone, some email, and some even do old fashioned notes.

10. Do you have any recommendations? This opens up a line of conversation on everything you have already discussed.