Homework tips that help

WASHINGTON — Harris Cooper, a Duke University psychology professor and director of its program in education, gave up battling with his adolescent children over where and how they studied.

The deal: They could study however they wanted as long as their grades met his expectations. Sometimes, at least for academically inclined children, "this kind of choice can be motivating," Cooper said.

Here are his homework tips for kids:

_ Pick a good time to do homework. Try to do it at the same time every day — right after school, just before dinner or right after dinner. Try not to leave homework until just before bed.

_ Remember to make time for long-term projects. Think about using a weekend morning or afternoon for working on big projects, especially if they involve working together with classmates. If you need special stuff for a project, make sure to tell your parents well in advance.

_ Spend more time on hard homework than easy homework. If you know what's easy and hard, do the hard work first. Take a short break if you can't keep your mind on an assignment.

_ If homework gets too hard, ask for help. If your parents are busy and you have older brothers or sisters, ask them for help, or get your parents to ask them. Only ask for help if you really need it.

_ Find a place that makes studying easy. Collect everything you'll need before you begin to work. Do your homework in the same place every day.