By Fredreka Schouten
Gannett News Service
WASHINGTON - Harris Cooper knows from experience that parents and teachers ought to talk more about homework.
Cooper, a Duke University professor and one of the nation's leading authorities on homework, recalled feeling perturbed when his daughter's seventh-grade teacher assigned C.S. Lewis' classic tale The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Cooper's daughter had read that book as a fourth-grader.
Instead of complaining, he consulted his daughter's former teacher and learned that in fourth grade, the story is read as a child's fairytale. In middle school, it's analyzed as Christian allegory.
"The communication is critical," he said.
Other Cooper tips for parents:
Make sure your child has a quiet homework spot. Put materials such as paper, pencils and a dictionary nearby.
Be positive about homework.
Act as a role model. When your child does homework, don't watch TV or listen to loud music. If your child is reading, read too.
Monitor your child's progress. Watch for signs of frustration. If your child asks for help, provide guidance, not answers.
Help out only when needed. Homework helps kids learn to work independently and develop study skills.
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