Homework: The Basics
Homework can take many forms. For example, your child might be asked to do a worksheet or project, to do some reading or writing, or to collect interesting objects to share with the class.
Homework can help your child:
· practice skills learned in class
· get ready for the next day’s work
· work on an ongoing project that needs extra resources such as the library, the internet, or a parent’s help
· learn time management and organizational skills, such as working to a deadline in class and at home, and
finding a balance between work and play.
Homework has benefits for parents, too – it gives you the chance to see what your child is learning about at school. It also gives you the chance to let your child know your views and values about learning and education by showing interest in and helping with homework.
In the early school years, there’s no clear evidence that doing homework helps your child do well at school. But homework can have other benefits in these years. It can help children learn time management and organizational skills, make links between school and home, and involve parents in their child’s education.
As children get older, homework does have clear academic benefits – there’s a strong link between homework and achievement, particularly in secondary school.
Making Homework Work
Find the right time
For some children, the best time to get homework done will be right after school. Others might need a break to play and unwind first. No matter what, the optimal time is when you can be around to supervise and give your child a helping hand if needed.
Most children can concentrate for only about 15 minutes at a time before they might need a brief break. Get your child to do some neck stretches, arm shakes and finger wriggles. A favorite activity, like watching TV or playing outside, might be a reward for when your child has finished the homework.
Create the right environment
It’s a good idea to set up your child somewhere that has good light, air and enough space for her to spread out with her books, pens and other resources.
Try to minimize distractions by turning off the TV and asking siblings to stay away. You could also ask your child to leave his mobile phone with you. If he’s using a computer that’s connected to the internet, you might want to keep it in a shared family area so you can keep an eye on the sites he’Is visiting.
Help your child get organized
You can show your child how to break down big assignments or projects into smaller, more manageable tasks. She might then plan to do one each night. If she has several different assignments in one week, help her plan what to do each night.
Older children might benefit from a homework planner so they can see when assignments are due and plan accordingly.
Help your child develop a positive approach
Schoolwork isn’t always easy. Your job is to help your child develop a positive approach to academic and organizational challenges.
If your child avoids challenges, encourage him to sort the tasks into those he finds easy and those he finds difficult. Get him to do ‘easier’ tasks first to build his confidence, then guide him through the more difficult tasks.
If your child is struggling with a particular assignment, you could help her approach the problem positively by getting her to pinpoint what she’s finding difficult. From there, you can brainstorm some solutions together, weighing up the pros and cons of the different options to find the best one. You can also help your child identify people or resources that could help her further.
Children often have trouble getting started on projects or coming up with ideas. Your support at this stage of homework can help things get off to a good start, and help your child avoid procrastination and frustration.
Information obtained from: Raising Children Network