Raise your hand if you’ve felt personally victimized by your kid’s math homework? If your kids are still too young for homework, don’t worry: Someday, you’ll share this experience. For many parents, the way we were taught certain subjects has drastically changed. Some of the changes are good, like more inclusivity or a more balanced look at history. But some of the changes are challenging, like common core math.
Rest assured, it’s not just parents who are learning. During conferences at my daughter’s school, her wonderful third grade teacher confessed that she and her teaching assistant often have to refresh themselves with the teacher’s guide before math instruction begins because they, too, learned how to “carry the one.” But beyond common core math, as kids grow, the topics get more challenging and it gets harder to help.
So what do we do when our kids ask for our help with their homework—or during the pandemic when many of us were trying to support their learning at home—and we don’t know how? Do we throw up our hands in the same ways our kids do when they’re frustrated? Or do we try to help them the best we can? If you’re hoping for the latter, here are five ways you can help support your child with their homework.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a little course refresher to learn how your kids are learning? Great news, fellow parents, it exists: Carson Dellosa Education’s Spectrum Complete Learning + Videos Workbooks, a multimedia resource with grade-level workbooks, supplemental videos, and practice pages based on the current state education standards. Spectrum Complete Learning + Videos Workbooks are like a handy tutor to help you and your kids through the frustration that sometimes comes with learning math and language arts.
Here’s how we use the Carson Dellosa Education Spectrum Complete Learning + Videos Workbooks in our home:
- We check out the homework my daughter has to complete each day. Usually, it’s one to two practice worksheets for math and 20 minutes of reading, which she does on her own.
- I flip to the chapter within the workbook for a quick refresher on what we’re doing. Each chapter begins with a helpful introduction written for parents. It answers the what—what is this topic and the skills my child is expected to learn? The why—why is my child expected to learn this and how does it apply in real life? And, most importantly for me, the how can I help.
- Spectrum Complete Learning Workbooks also have supplemental videos (accessible by QR code) to help explain the concepts. The videos are helpful to watch together because we can pause them if needed.
Plus, because Spectrum Complete Learning + Videos Workbooks are based on state standards, I know the strategies we are using together are likely more consistent with the strategies my child’s teachers use than me or my husband applying what we remember from elementary school.
Get homework support for grades 3-6 with learning support and video content for math and language arts. Only $16.99—plus use code 10EVERYMOM for 10% off your purchase! Additional Spectrum Learning Workbooks for math, language arts, reading, and science for grades Pre-K through Grade 8 are also available.
Get homework support for grades 3-6 with learning support and video content for math and language arts.
Only $16.99—plus use code 10EVERYMOM for 10% off your purchase!
Additional Spectrum Learning Workbooks for math, language arts, reading, and science for grades Pre-K through Grade 8 are also available.
2. Establish a Routine and Expectations
When my kids come home from school, their routine is pretty simple: They wash their hands, hang up their coats, put their lunchboxes on the counter, and open the snack drawer. From there, they usually head into the living room to turn on the TV. My husband and I both work from home, so we can’t entertain them for the two hours after school.
But we have been trying to disrupt their march to the TV with clearer expectations. Instead of zoning out in front of the TV with their snacks, one of us will take a work break and set them up with some after-school activity choices like walking the dog or doing their homework. Since both are responsibilities versus play, sometimes, homework does get chosen.
But I’ll admit our system sometimes falls apart on a sunny or particularly busy workday. For more disciplined parents, making homework time a given at the same time each day could be a more consistent routine.
3. Notice Teaching Opportunities in Real Life
Not every kid likes all subjects. My third grader loves science but says she “hates” math. When she gets frustrated and says she doesn’t need to know math, I try to point out times when she actually uses it (not in the moment, of course, or the message is likely to be lost). Maybe we’re using fractions as we’re baking brownies together or maybe she’s figuring out how much taller she is than her sister. Scenarios where learning manifests in real life helps them understand why it’s important.
4. Take Breaks
There’s no point in barreling through when your kid—or you—end up yelling, crying, or storming away from said homework (can you tell this has happened at my house?). It’s always OK to pause and come back to a problem.
5. Encourage What They Do Like
My daughter might get frustrated with math, but she loves to read, study animals, and explore history. Yes, kids get tested in reading and math and schools get funding based on their scores, so she will need to get through math. But I hope she never bases her value on her math test scores. I hope that by encouraging her love of learning in other areas, she’ll never get too hung up on what she’s not doing well and instead celebrate where she shines.
This post was in partnership with Carson Dellosa Education but all of the opinions within are those of The Everymom editorial board. We only recommend products we genuinely love.