6 ways to help grade-schoolers get schoolwork done on their own

By Amanda Morin

Expert reviewed by Ginny Osewalt

It’s important for kids to ask for help when they need it. But it’s also important for them to learn to work independently. Here are ideas to help grade-schoolers get schoolwork done on their own.

1. Set clear, realistic goals.

Help your child make a plan, like “I’m going to work on the first five math problems before I take a break or ask you for help.”

2. Use sticky notes when reading.

At the end of each sentence, have your child ask, “Did I understand this?” If not, have your child mark the sentence with a sticky note, jot down any questions on the note, and go back to it later.

This can help with reading comprehension. It also teaches kids to keep track of what they’re doing.

3. Make a “cheat sheet.”

Help your child make a list of reminders to help avoid common mistakes. These could be reminders about spelling errors, like “I before E except after C.” Or notes like, “Remember to write my name at the top of worksheets.” Then have your child put the list in an easy-to-see spot.

4. Think out loud.

Thinking out loud (or self-talk) keeps kids aware of what they’re doing. Get your child into the habit of saying questions like “What do I need to do next?” or “Have I done a math problem like this before?”

5. Make a checklist of where things go.

Include details like “Put homework in homework folder,” “Put folder in backpack,” and “Put backpack by door.”

6. Reward your child for a job well done.

Let your child earn points each time homework is finished before dinner. Saved-up points can equal a special treat or having a friend sleep over.

About the author

About the author

Amanda Morin is the author of “The Everything Parent’s Guide to Special Education” and the former director of thought leadership at Understood. As an expert and writer, she helped build Understood from its earliest days. 

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Ginny Osewalt is a dually certified elementary and special education teacher with more than 15 years of experience in general education, inclusion, resource room, and self-contained settings.