Striving For Excellence in Your Child’s Homework

Before you can successfully get a job done, you must first take the time to know and understand exactly what is expected of you. It sounds simple. However, countless students experience difficulty meeting project expectations because they have not taken the time to carefully review assignment requirements before beginning their work. Exactly what are teachers looking for in student assignments? Whether it be daily homework assignments, research or book reports, projects or oral presentations, teachers evaluate student work according to standard criteria. Here are a few of the most common teacher expectations and goals for student work. Although it may be challenging for your child to fulfill each and every goal listed, it is helpful to encourage your child to be aware of this criteria and strive for more successful assignment completion.

Be Complete: Doing a thorough job makes a big difference when it comes to completing assignments successfully. Many students lose points for omitting required or vital information, for partial or weak explanations of the material, or for lack of supporting details and explanations (the meat and potatoes of the assignment). Your child's primary goals should be to cover the main points of his or her topic as completely as possible and to make sure that all project requirements have been fulfilled. If the teacher has provided a listing of the project requirements, encourage your child to check them off as they are completed.

Be Accurate and Be Clear: An assignment which contains incorrect information, false statements or is extremely hard to read and understand will not make a good impression. Facts, dates, names, theories, etc. must be double-checked for accuracy since careless errors can weaken the overall report or project. Likewise, a poorly written assignment, regardless of how accurate it may be, will also affect the reader's evaluation. Your child should make sure that he or she completely understands all of the material before beginning to write about it or present it to others.

Get Organized: Likewise, many poorly written assignments simply lack organization and structure. Have your child take the time to develop strong topic sentences and to divide the information into logical groupings, paragraphs or chapters according to the topic. This will keep your child on track and will discourage straying from the topic. As always, organization skills are sometimes difficult for children so feel free to assist them if they need some guidance and role modeling.

Choose Wisely: Before beginning any assignment, make sure that the topic or book chosen is neither too broad to cover completely, nor too small to develop properly. Investigate all possibilities before settling on a particular topic. Once you have found an interesting and suitable subject, stick to it! Many students lose valuable time switching topics mid-stream, so take the time to make the proper choice from the start. Teachers can also provide feedback and guidance when selecting an appropriate subject for a report or project.

Be Creative: Assignments that stand apart from the crowd are those which are highly creative. Presenting information in unique and interesting ways makes learning fun for others. Students can clearly convey their mastery of the material by taking basic factual information and making it come to life through artistic projects, skits, demonstrations or creative writing. These efforts certainly take more time and thought, but truly enhance the end product.

Polish It: Proofreading assignments for grammar and spelling errors is an absolute must. Many students are so excited to have completed an assignment that they forget to take the extra time required to read it over. Correcting errors, checking for incorrect information and making sure that writing is clear and logical, will help to improve the overall assignment. Losing points for careless errors can be avoided with a little extra effort. Getting into the habit of "polishing" a finished product is an essential lifelong skill that really makes a difference.

Quality Counts: The work you produce says a great deal about you. Putting your best foot forward when completing and presenting assignments can enhance any assignment. Teach your children to take pride in their work by encouraging neatness and proper presentation. Even the best projects lose something if they are handed in with illegible writing, ripped pages or incomplete diagrams or illustrations. On the other hand, assignments that have been completed and presented with care clearly show the extra time and effort taken by the student.

Rehearse It: If assignments require oral presentations or demonstrations, make sure that your child has practiced the program ahead of time. Parents make great audiences and can provide constructive pointers to the presenter. A full length mirror can also be used as a silent audience. When students practice ahead of time they are less likely to be nervous, fumble for proper words or information, experience any "technical difficulties" with their demonstrations, or appear unprepared.

Be On Time: Last but not least is the importance of handing in assignments on time. Unfortunately many students lose points for late projects or reports. Learning to budget time when completing assignments is an essential skill that will prevent such unnecessary penalties. For more information see Learning How to Budget Time When Completing Homework Assignments. A simple trick is to set a target due date a few days ahead of the assigned due date. Completing assignments early leaves extra time for polishing, for unexpected mishaps or for relaxing!

For additional information, see Homework Help! at


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