Common Core Math for Parents: Asking Questions at Homework Time

By Christopher Danielson

Part of Common Core Math For Parents For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Homework is a hot topic in the transition to Common Core Standards. Homework assignments that ask students to think in new ways can be intimidating to parents. When something comes home that looks unfamiliar to you, don’t panic. Homework is just a way of giving students additional time to think about the things that they’re learning — what teachers call time on task.

Your child’s teacher assigns homework with the best interests of your child and of the class in mind. When your child needs help with homework, remember that the homework is your child’s responsibility, not yours. You obviously want to help your child, but not do the homework for her. Above all, don’t let the homework add extra stress and take over your home life. Start by asking your child to explain the problem she is working on and to explain that day’s lesson from class. Then, you can support your child’s learning by asking her questions such as these:

  • How did you do this in class?

  • Can I see your work from class today?

  • How do you know that? (Ask this question of both right and wrong answers.)

  • What do know how to do very well on this assignment?

  • What do you not know how to do very well on this assignment?

  • How can you get help at school outside of your regular math time when you need it?

Use your child’s answers to these questions to guide your next move. Help her see how the day’s lesson can help her solve the problem she is working on, tell how you think about these problems, and ask follow-up questions.