Homework Strategies for Different Types of Homework

By Dr. Raymond Huntington

You’ve heard before that there’s no such thing as “one-size-fits-all” learning. The same is true for study and homework strategies. The responsibility factor is a big part of homework and one of its primary benefits. Homework nurtures students’ time management skills and their ability to complete tasks. But the primary purpose of homework is to reinforce what teachers teach in the classroom.

The U.S. Department of Education describes four common types of homework: practice, preparatory, extension and integration. At Huntington, we help children of all ages become better students. Here are some of the strategies we teach for tackling different homework types:

Practice – Practice homework is the most common type you’ll see come home. It is intended to bolster classroom learning and help students master specific skills. So, just as the name implies, the key to success with this type of homework is to keep practicing. A few tips for children:

  • Nail down the basic skills that are the underpinning for more complex skills.
  • Learn from mistakes by going over missed class problems or test questions.
  • Always consider homework to be required, not optional.
  • Dig into the steps. In math, for example, children must understand the “why” behind steps and not just the rote “how.”

Preparatory – Like it sounds, preparatory homework introduces concepts and ideas that will be covered in class in the near future. Common preparatory homework examples include learning vocabulary or reading a textbook chapter before the content is to be discussed the next day. A few tips for children doing preparatory homework:

  • Take notes of the main ideas of passages and bring them out when the topic is covered in class.
  • Write down questions that arise while completing homework. Ask those questions in class the next day.
  • If stumped on a problem (math or science, for example), circle it and write down a few reasons why the problem is confusing.

Extension – Extension homework is often assigned when teachers want to challenge a student with opportunities to apply what they have learned to something new. A few tips for children doing extension homework:

  • Be resourceful, looking through notes or the textbook for strategies on how to solve a problem or additional information that might be helpful for homework completion.
  • Think about concepts in different ways and from different angles. This helps children engage in different ways of mental processing.
  • Take a problem-solving approach to new and unfamiliar material. Children should think about what tools and information they already have that might help them tackle a problem.

Integration – Integration homework requires students to apply different skills to a single task (e.g. book reports or larger projects). A few tips for children doing integration homework:

  • Be organized and keep track of all research and information.
  • Plan thoroughly and effectively, with milestones for multi-step projects.

Here are a few best practices to make homework time more productive and successful, no matter what type of homework:

  • Establish the spot. Consistency is important and helps children get into good homework routines. Designate a place in your home for homework, whether that’s the kitchen, dining room or your child’s desk in her room.
  • Designate a time. Some children focus best right after school, while others are most alert after dinner and activities. Figure out the best time of day for homework and do your best to set and keep a schedule.
  • Commit to organization. A homework center with the supplies your child needs to be productive helps children get to work when it’s time to do homework. Your child should spend a few minutes at the end of each homework session tidying it up for the next day.
  • Spend time creating a game plan. Your child should go through his planner before starting homework to look over all assignments for the evening and rank them in order of priority. This will keep homework time on track and eliminate procrastination.
  • Limit homework help. Resist the urge to take a lead role in your child’s homework or step in to show your child how to do homework. Your child should take the initiative and assume responsibility. Make sure your role is as a supporter.

Is your child stressed and struggling with homework on a daily basis? Huntington can help. Call us at 1-800 CAN LEARN to talk about how we can help your child master homework and become a stronger student.