How to Handle Homework

By sheilam |

 

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Many parents can see homework as a bit of a battle, at any time of the year but especially when the sun starts to shine. As parents it can be tough we are told abut the benefits of exercise and being outdoors for children so it often goes against the grain to be restricting this in order to get homework done but there are only so many hour in a day.

Here are a few guidelines for parents

  • Try to ensure it gets done as soon as it is set (unless it is a longer piece requiring several sessions)
  • Encourage brief times of focussed work with no distractions often then  it can be done quite quickly
  • Doing short bursts frequently is usually better than saving it all up and having to spend ages doing it
  • Children and young people need balance, so sports and activity clubs, or music or dancing classes are all vital BUT homework is a fact of life so make sure they aren’t so busy that fitting in school work becomes a stress.
  • Be involved in supporting them but don’t do it for them. I know it can be difficult but they should be able to do it and if they regularly need a lot of input from you then have a chat to the teacher.
  • Make sure you have the equipment they might need – pencils, paper, glue scissors, colouring pens etc and make sure you know where it is – if your house is anything like mine you could spend half an hour just gathering the bits and pieces they need.
  • Try to make a distinction between homework and reading for pleasure. We want children to grow up enjoying reading. When they are small they will bring books home to practice reading but to keep developing comprehension skills while they learn to read make sure that you always find time to fit in a story – listening to an adult read (or sharing a story where the child reads part and the adult reads part)  will still help to develop their comprehension skills and extend their vocabulary.
  • Don’t as the adult see homework as a problem, we value education therefore homework is something that is important (though I also accept that schools don’t always get it right when it comes to setting homework). Explain this to children and make sure that as a family homework time is scheduled in regularly.
  • Do give praise for their effort and their achievement but it’s also ok to challenge and expect a bit more if you feel they haven’t done enough – you might find it interesting to read about Growth Mindset.
  • Do have a look at the schools homework policy (it will probably be on the website) and if you feel it isn’t being followed then chat to the teacher.

Its also good to make an appointment to talk to your  child’s teacher  if homework is 

  • regularly taking too long or you feel they have too much
  • too difficult- if they can’t do it without your help then its probably not an appropriate task for homework
  • repetitive, oneof the purposes of homework is practice but if a child has grasped the concept of adding two numbers then 5 or 10 sums for practice may be ok 50 probably isn’t
  • new material – the learning should be taking place at school – so generally speaking new concepts etc shouldn’t be introduced via homework
  • regularly finishing off what should have been done in a lesson – it might be the child wasn’t working well so this might be fair, but if it happens regularly then maybe there is a problem.

For more information about supporting your child’s learning click here

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