No one enjoys homework, do they? You probably didn’t enjoy doing homework as a child either, so how do you encourage your child to? We all realise the relevance of homework and its many benefits, but it’s something that can be time consuming and can cause much anxiety in one’s household. It’s important to remember that homework can assist children in becoming more proficient in their academics, it can teach important life skills (such as work ethic) and contributes significantly to the learning process. Many homework tasks also encourage students to solve problems independently and can teach them time management. So, how do we make homework bearable and ensure that children take out the best elements of these often laborious and ‘boring’ tasks? Here are some strategies to help you tackle homework with your child:
1. Stick to a specific homework time
Set a particular time during the day for your child to do their homework. Make sure that it doesn’t clash with their sports, play and bedtimes and that they have eaten a good lunch before starting their work. Maintaining a regular schedule will help them develop a daily study habit and this will land up slotting easily into their day to day lives.
2. Create a timeline
Prepare a chart or a calendar with a visual timeline of assignments and tests; do this with your child. Also note and prepare all the resources they will need in order to complete their tasks, ensuring they feel in control and not anxious. Keeping up with the schedule will instil crucial time management skills and make them feel organised.
3. Choose the right work area
Create a comfortable homework area where they can focus on their assignments and studying without any likely distractions from devices, pets, or family members. Make sure that there is a comfortable desk where all stationery and material are available.
4. Provide support but not direct help
Homework is an extension of classroom learning. It centres on their understanding of the concepts taught by the teacher. At home, they are likely to turn to you for help, but if you give them the solutions, they won’t learn and that’ll defeat the whole purpose. Guide them when they are confused, break down large assignments into bearable chunks, run through concepts with them, but insist that they give their own answers. Remember that we want to create critical thinkers and giving them all the answers will not do this.
5. Work alongside your children
Children learn from what they see and, as parents, you are their ultimate role models. Do not enforce homework time for them while they can see you relaxing. Provide them with the assurance that you are as busy as they are, doing your work while they finish theirs. They will feel good about the fact that you are completing your work, while they complete theirs
6. Encourage breaks in between assignments
Just like one takes breaks while exercising, one's mind deserves a break while doing homework or studying. Short breaks can improve focus and can keep the brain fresh and motivated. Taking a short break will help clear your child’s mind if they happen to be stuck and can ensure that their tasks are completed as efficiently as possible.
7. Prioritise assignments
Help your child to manage their time, by identifying the assignments and tests that are the most critical. Make sure to look at deadlines and exam dates on your visual calendar ensure that everything is done in good time. Also explain to your children that finishing the most-challenging assignments first with a fresh mind is a good strategy and that the easier tasks can be done at a later stage.
8. Reward achievements
Celebrate achievements, like finishing homework without any guidance or finishing studying a difficult section, with well-deserved rewards. Take your child out for a treat, or do something fun with them - this will motivate them to keep up the good work.
9. Maintain positivity
Nurture a positive attitude towards homework and studying and your child will adapt the same perspective. This positive attitude will serve them well in life regarding all tasks they need to complete.
10. Interact with teachers
Keep in touch with your child’s teachers to understand their homework expectations, the academic performance of your child and the quality of work they submit. This will help you guide your child better and emphasise the fact that teachers and parents are a team.
Like it or not, homework is a challenge that we all have to accept and the more positive and proactive we are, the more your child will succeed and pass the challenge with flying colours! We are always there to provide help, guidance and support to you and your child.