Can you believe it's just about time for the kids to head back to school?  Another summer vacation is almost in the books.  Back to school means the kids will be coming home with homework and they're not the only ones who often dread it.  Parents do too.  What can you do to make it less stressful? 

USA Today recently featured an article on how parents can help their kids with homework.  They shared some tips from Harris Cooper, who wrote the book " The Battle Over Homework."  These are some things parents can do to make homework less unpleasant.  Be a monitor.  Look for signs of frustration.  If your child needs help, offer them guidance but not answers.  If they're really getting frustrated, have them take a short break.  Set the stage.  Make sure they're doing their homework with plenty of light, it's in a quiet place and they have all the supplies they need.  Act like a role model.  Don't watch tv while they're doing homework.  If they're reading, pick up a book yourself.  Are they working on math problems?  Cooper suggests that's when you balance your checkbook.  Doing this allows your child to see that the skills they're working on are things they'll be doing as an adult.  Be a motivator for your child.  Tell them how important school is and be positive about homework.  Act like a mentor.  If the teacher wants you to play a role in their homework, then do it.  If not, back off and let your child do their homework.  Don't do it for them.  As for teachers, Cooper has some homework tips for them too.  Dole out the right amount of homework.  Don't overload kids.  Remember the ten minute rule.  Ten minuts of homework each night for each grade.  Such as thirty minutes for third grade, fifty minutes for fifth grade and so on.  Keep parents in the loop.  Let parents know what your rules are.  Add variety to homework.  Mix it up.  Don't give homework as a punishment.  That sends the wrong message about homework.