My children had never had problems doing their homework before last year of course, that could be because they didn’t really have any until then. My oldest son began a new school year and seemed to be breezing through the first few weeks. He never seemed to have any homework, and when asked, always told us that he had finished it at school. After a call from his teacher, we found out that he had done none of his homework for the entire first month of school.

We were mortified and he was put on a strict homework schedule to catch up. He also was not allowed to participate in football games with the rest of his friends, he was only allowed to practice. Needless to say, we learned the hard way what to do when it came to keeping our son accountable with his school work. We also got to know his teacher very well too. In hopes of saving a few other parents out there some of what we went through, I’ve put together a short list of simple things you can do to help your child succeed in school this year.

The teacher is not the enemy - Your child’s teacher cares about them and wants them to do well. For the best success of your child, you must work as a team. Don’t get mad if the teacher calls you with an issue, the teacher is only trying to get your help. You are on the same team!

Listen to the teacher - Your child can act differently at school than they do at home. Many times more is expected of them at school and they always have added peer pressure to deal with too. If your child is having a behavioral issue at school, try to work with the teacher to find a solution.

Check your child’s agendas every day - This is extremely important. Not only does this open communication between you and your child about what is going on at school, but it also helps them to be accountable because they know you are going to be checking in on them daily.

Check your child’s homework — but don't do it for them - It’s important to look over their homework, and let them know if they did something wrong. However, it is wrong for you to tell them the answer. They are supposed to be learning and giving them the answer doesn’t allow them to learn.

Get in a routine - Set aside a specific time every night to do homework. This will help your child get used to doing their homework (hopefully without too much complaining). It is also a good idea to have your child put everything in their backpack the night before that they will need for the next day. This will help to eliminate any problems with forgetting things the next morning when you are in a mad rush to make it to school or the bus on time.

Joy Larson is a mother of four boys, graduate of The University of Montana, animal lover and writer.

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