Many parents leave the responsibility of completing homework up to their children -due to a lack of time or lack of knowledge – and only check their children’s homework after it’s completed. But what does it really mean to check homework?

Check your responsibility

Commit to spending 15-30 minutes every night checking homework. It’s that simple. Understandably, parents’ work schedules or lack of planning are often the excuse for not being able to help their children complete their homework on a daily basis.

If you can’t check your child’s homework every night, rearrange your schedule or find a creative way to check homework. For example, if you work the 2-10 p.m. shift and your child is asleep when you get home, sign up for an after-school program or have an older, capable sibling check your child’s homework and report back to you. If those aren’t options for you, have your child place his or her completed homework on the table, and check it when you get home at night. If it’s not correct, wake him or her up earlier the next day to finish it correctly. When your child sees that you are making the time, he or she will take the time to complete it the right way.

Check number and types of assignments

Know exactly what it is you’re checking. If the school your child attends does not supply him or her with a homework agenda, buy an inexpensive planner to write the homework assignments in daily and neatly, within the box for the date of the week.

High school and middle school students normally have homework in each subject every day. In elementary school, check with your child’s homeroom teacher to understand what homework subjects can be expected for each day of the week. (Many teachers are willing to give you their cell phone numbers for cases like this. If they are not willing, contact the school and inquire about the homework policy for the school or for each class your child takes.) After you check your child’s homework, go through their planner and check off the assignments that are complete and correct to ensure your child will have all of his or her homework ready for the next day.

Check the directions

Some students start working based on what they see and not necessarily what they read. Your child may answer six long-division problems because they see them on a worksheet. However, if the worksheet also directed them to check answers using multiplication, the homework is not complete. Therefore, be sure to read the directions for each homework assignment and check them against what your child actually did on the homework assignment before giving your child the “OK.”

Check the quality of work

Expect the best from your child and refuse to accept sloppy, poorly written or inaccurate homework. If the handwriting on the assignment is written sloppily, have your child rewrite it neater. If necessary, ask the teacher for handwriting sheets so your child can use them to practice his or her handwriting for homework. If there are far too many spelling errors, have him or her reference the dictionary or Spellcheck on a Word document. Read your child’s homework aloud to better check if what they wrote makes sense. Finally, check for accuracy of content. If the question reads, “Name the five Great Lakes”, have your child show where the information was found in the textbook or in his or her class notes. If you are having difficulty determining accuracy, call your child’s teacher or use Internet sites like Homework Helper refdesk, at, for assistance.

Remember, it is your responsibility to make sure your child is prepared for class each day, not only with paper and pencil, but with the practice needed to have a successful school day.