If your third-grader is spending an hour and a half on just her math homework, for instance, that's way too much. “Keep track of her time for several days, then talk to the teacher,” suggests Dolin. Sometimes teachers honestly underestimate how long an assignment will take. If your child routinely works long hours because she's struggling, also talk to the teacher. But if she seems to be slaving over homework because she's a perfectionist, you may need to discuss a reasonable amount of time to devote to an assignment and then clock her.
Specific methods have been developed for encouraging the optimal parental involvement in homework. TIPS (Teachers Involve Parents in Schoolwork) Interactive Homework process was designed by researchers at Johns Hopkins University and teachers in Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia to meet parents' and teachers' needs, says the Phi Delta Kappa Research Bulletin. The September 1997 bulletin reported the effects of TIPS-Language Arts on middle-grade students' writing skills, language arts report card grades, and attitudes toward TIPS as well as parents' reactions to interactive homework.