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Supporting learning

Mother helping son with homework

Homework: How to help

Kevin Fenton

Revised July 2009 by Kathleen A. Olson, Extension Educator — Family Relations; reviewed March 2016 by Lori Hendrickson, Extension Educator — Family Resiliency.

Parents can play an important role in helping their children succeed in school by using some guidelines and using a problem solving approach to homework.

It’s easy to say that you should help your child with their homework. For parents, it’s hard to decide just what to do, and how much to do. What’s too little? What's too much? Here are some general guidelines:

What’s important is that you make it clear that homework is important and you are there to help support them and effectively guide them through assignments. At the same time, help children become independent learners and users of information.


Clark, R. M. (1993). Homework-focused parenting practices that positively affect student achievement. In N. F. Chavkin (Ed.), Families and schools in a pluralistic society (pp. 85-105). Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.

Eisenberg, M., & Berkowitz, R. E. (1996). Helping with homework: A parent's guide to information problem solving. Syracuse, NY: ERIC Clearinghouse on Information and Technology.

Fan, Q. (2012). Parents’ perceptions and practices in homework: Implications for school-teacher-parent partnerships (Doctoral dissertation). Retrieved from UIC indigo (University of Illinois at Chicago).

Hoover-Dempsey, K. V., Bassler, O. C., & Burow, R. (1995). Parents’ reported involvement in students’ homework: Strategies and practices. The Elementary School Journal, 95(5), 435-450.

PBS. (n.d.). Helping with homework.

Related resources

Minimizing conflict over homework — Keep homework tensions at a minimum and use structure to minimize homework conflict.

Grades at school — Get a better understanding about grades and how to turn poor grades into positive learning opportunities.

What can parents do to strengthen parent-school connections? — Follow these easy-to-do steps to help strengthen your parent-school relationships. English | español

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