Much to some students’ dismay, the school day is not over when the last class is dismissed. Regardless of age or grade level of the students (and how much they accomplish independently in class), they will likely have some amount of additional schoolwork to finish at home most nights of the school week. Homework is a great way for students to showcase their individual comprehension of the material. Though it might be dreaded at times (especially when busy families are also trying to fit in sports practices, extracurricular activities, doctor checkups and other appointments), Apex Leadership Company offers the following helpful tips to make homework time a little easier ad smoother.

Set up Space — Every student should have an area in the home dedicated to homework time. This could be a desk in their room where all their school supplies are kept, the kitchen table, or even a corner with a good reading lamp, a bean bag chair and a lap desk. Having a comfortable space is important to encourage focus. For those that need quiet time to fully engage in the material, try to clear all distractions. However, some students thrive with a little “white noise” such as background sound or music — so find what works for them!

Help, Don’t Hinder — Approaches to understanding concepts that parents learned once upon a time have changed. Teachers are using new methods to teach all subjects. While it may be tempting for parents to teach their children “how they learned math,” for example, it’s important that the student fully grasp the way that they are being taught a particular subject in school. If students have questions, parents should ask them to show them the learning materials so they can go over it together.

However, parents should avoid simply giving the answer to help move things along. Even though homework can sometimes be painstaking (for both parent and child, admittedly!), it’s an important part of the learning process. If a child is having a particularly hard time with a given subject during homework time, he should communicate that with his teacher during class (older children). Parents of young ones can reach out directly to the teacher to formulate a plan to help him get “up to speed.”

Show the Work — Time and again, teachers are going to want to see the work, not just the answer. So it’s a good idea to instill that habit at an early age when kids are tackling homework on their own. They may know the answer “in their head” — and that’s awesome! But without showcasing the process they took to get there, it may not count as “correct” in some teachers’ eyes.

Take a Break — Some families get started on homework as soon as the kids walk through the door. Some tackle homework time after dinner or other activities. It doesn’t matter when it gets done, as long as it’s a time that works well for both student and family. What does matter is also including some free time into every day. Kids spend a good portion of their days in class, and then many are on the go to other sports or extra curriculars immediately after school. So building in some downtime each afternoon or evening is a crucial part of allowing kids’ minds to reset and refocus so they can handle the homework at hand.

Apex Leadership Company encourages parents to help their children’s school success by instilling a solid homework routine. This is also an excellent time for parents to enjoy some much needed downtime (such as tucking into a good book) while remaining on “standby” in case the child has a question or is “stuck” on a particular problem.