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Back-to-School: 5 homework tips to help your student start the year off right

Homework doesn't have to be horrible!

GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. — There's a good chance teachers have already assigned their classes some homework. We know it can be tough getting back into the routine, so we asked educators in the Minneapolis, St. Paul and Richfield public school districts for their best tips. 

Number one: Learn your kids' learning style

Some kids might want to come home and finish their work right away, while others may want time to relax. Not all students are great at clearly communicating what they need to crack open the books, so searching online for a 'learning style inventory' could help both parents and students figure out what works best. 

Number two: Create a routine -- but do it together

Sit down with your kid and decide on a time and place for finishing homework. Listing a few options could help kids feel more part of the process and more committed to completing their homework. Be mindful of your tone during this process because a negative one could lead your child to disengage with you. 

Number three: Keep track of due dates

Find out what your student is working on that day, how long they think the assignment will take to finish, and when it's due. High schools often have digital tools available for parents to view homework assignments and deadlines. It's a good idea to contact your child's school to see what is available. 

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Number four: Encourage breaks

It's not realistic to expect students to spend hours on homework after a long day at school. Breaking down the assignment into sections could yield better results. For some students, that could mean spending about 20 minutes on one part of the homework, taking a break, and then working on another part of the assignment for the next 20 minutes.  Breaks could involve eating a snack, running around outside, or simply relaxing.

Number five: Know when to back off

Yes, there is such a thing as too much parental involvement. Parents should help steer their students in the right direction, but it's important to make sure that the student is completing the assignments and learning the material themselves. The parent shouldn't take over and finish the work. If your kids don't understand their assignment, encourage them to ask their teacher for more help before or after class. It's always tough to watch a child struggle, but that can be where the most growth happens. 

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