Homework is a nightly battle in most households across the country. The very word ‘homework’ is enough to switch kids off, sounding too much like a boring, constant hurdle to overcome, especially when they’ve been at school all day. If you’re tearing your hair out with grumpy, stubborn kids who don’t see the point, can’t stand deadlines and refuse to stick to a regular homework routine, there can be light at the end of the tunnel. Here are some handy tips to make things go a little smoother:
Homework is about much more than academic practise and your child’s approach to it could have psychological roots. If you regularly hear things like ‘It’s too hard’ or ‘It’s boring’, this could be your child’s way of expressing that they lack confidence in their ability to complete the work. This is when it’s important to ‘assist’ and not ‘insist’. After all, you cannot force a child to learn or complete their homework, but you can create an environment of positivity, structure and encouragement.
Did you know that during the summer holidays a child will lose an estimated 11 weeks of crucial maths learning, for example? This can have a significant impact on their confidence when starting a new term in September. Much of the Autumn term in school is taken up with repeating previous material that has been forgotten. One positive step you can take is to ensure just 2-3 hours of learning continues each week during the summer holidays, which will prevent this loss of skills and increase your child’s confidence for the new school year. Yes, we want our kids to relax and play during their break, but for just a couple of hours of active learning a week, you can ease the stress of the approaching new term and the return of the dreaded homework!
Homework is the responsibility of your child, not you, even when it doesn’t feel like it. Let your child make choices about when and where they wish to do their homework. Perhaps they want to get it out of the way as soon as they get in from school, after dinner or maybe to get up early and do it in the morning before school. Allow them to choose a quiet and organised spot, give them some space and only help if they ask you to. Remember though that not doing homework is not an available choice!
Set the right example
Being helpful shouldn’t mean you doing the assignments or spending painstaking hours hunched over the table. Children are far more likely to emulate what they see than what you say to them, so demonstrate good organisation and study skills in your day-to-day activities. It’s also useful to get involved with the school, attend events and speak to teachers about their homework policies. Having a good understanding of the teachers and what they are looking for can help you to provide the direction that your child might need to get to grips with their assignments.