Homework is an essential part of school work, whether your child likes it or not. Spending a bit of time helping them can really engage their interest though and make a big difference to their school work.
Here are 10 homework tips to help reduce friction and make getting it done that much easier.
Check what needs to be done early
Check through any homework that has been set as soon as you possibly can, in case a trip to the library (or Google!) is required. This also helps you to assess how long the homework will take.
Consider using treats to entice your children to finish homework early
This doesn't have to cost you a large sum of money, but perhaps you can link it in with an activity that is already planned. For example if homework is completed in the morning it makes time for a trip to the ice-cream parlour in the afternoon.
Be prepared to help with organisation and getting started
I have found that getting started is often the hardest part of any task. Talk through the homework with your child. Make sure they understand the work they need to do. Helping them to break down the task into manageable sections can make the homework appear less daunting.
Create the right environment and avoid distractions
Sitting at a table or desk is likely to help. It is a bit like being in school. A quiet environment also helps. If you had to do your work each day while also watching television then you probably wouldn't get very far. Therefore homework will progress a lot faster with the television off and other distractions such as a sibling playing out of the way.
Ensure your child has all the equipment they need
If they have all the things they need at the start such as paper, the correct pencils etc. then there should be no need to stop half way through to find something. This helps to maintain concentration and momentum. (I have always found a good quality rubber is vital!).
Make sure they have enough time to complete the work
Many children do not work as well when up against the clock. Therefore just making sure there is plenty of time available to get the work done. If your child is new to homework it is worth considering doubling any time estimates until you have a better understanding of how long homework usually takes.
Plan homework at the same time of day each time
This is not always possible with busy children who have lots of clubs and activities. But it can help to build homework into your child's routine and help them to accept it may be a dirty job, but it's one that needs doing. If they get used to homework being part of their routine they are more likely to get on with it without kicking up a fuss.
Is your child being overloaded?
Although homework needs to be done it should not totally dominate. If you think your child is being given too much homework, the work is too hard or it is not clear what needs to be done then talk to the school about your concerns. If you are finding it almost impossible to get your child to complete their homework then ask the school for help.
The same homework is often set for children of all abilities. So if your child struggles with a particular subject it may be an indication that they could benefit from a bit more support.
If homework is causing friction then try to keep calm. This is something I have not always found easy when a child refuses to use any of the guidelines listed above (insists they can do their homework just before bedtime, while watching their favourite program and playing a game with a sibling etc.). Getting angry about it only makes you feel worse and often has no effect on getting the homework done.
The more positive you can be about homework in general the better. Praise your children when they have completed the work they have to do. A little encouragement can go a long way.
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Check the marks your children are receiving for their homework. This more than anything tells you if the effort being put in is enough in terms of both quantity and quality.