Help your children stay ahead of their homework.
Need help sticking to the homework routine? Write down the schedule and put it where everyone can see it (on the fridge door!), to help you and your kids stay on track!
Find the balance between helping too much, and not enough.
Finding time to complete homework assignments between after-school sports and other extramural activities can seem like an uphill battle. As parents, we want to help our children achieve their best results, but often that’s easier said than done.
What do you do when your child doesn’t seem fully equipped to handle their homework tasks? Do you ‘help’ them to the point where the assignment may as well have your name on it, or do you leave them to their own devices, knowing their marks might suffer? Jarryd Duarte, Grade 7 head, and English and social sciences teacher at Norkem Park Primary School, gave us some valuable advice.
In my experience, the biggest problem students face regarding not completing homework on time is that they don’t have the skills they need to complete tasks on their own without constant supervision from a teacher,’ Jarryd explains.
‘Teachers can assist their students by teaching them the skills they need to tackle tasks independently, and with enough confidence to choose their own methods for completing a task. Teachers need to encourage students to explore and understand their work instead of passively listening to explanations and following instructions. When these students go home and try to complete their homework tasks without their teachers’ supervision, they hit a blank and often can’t finish their work.’
What can parents do to help?
Jarryd suggests having a positive attitude towards homework. ‘When a parent stresses resentment towards having to listen to reading or help with homework, it has a negative effect on the way children feel about it, too. No matter how hard teachers try to reinforce what’s good for them, children tend to default to what their parents display as “normal” behaviour.
‘Parents should set routines for their children early on and stick to them,’ Jarryd advises. Find a routine that works best for your family; if your children have a number of activities, including sport, music lessons, or art classes, you may need a more flexible routine. For instance, there may be time for homework directly after school two days a week, but on the other three days, homework may need to be done in the evenings.
Note: Make sure your children have a healthy balance of extramural activities and homework time. Both need to be prioritised.
Remove distractions and excessive noise during homework time. There should be no TV, loud music, or social phone calls allowed. If your house is quite noisy with limited space, consider designating an hour or two to ‘quiet activity time’ for everyone in the house so there’s quiet for those who need it for homework time. If noise and distractions can’t be avoided, consider allowing your children to do homework at a nearby library or study centre.
Jarryd’s tip: ‘Reward time spent on homework with a family or outdoor activity instead of TV. Students shouldn’t
see homework as a pathway to TV, or worse, not completing their homework as the reason for no TV!’
Provide your children with a space where they can complete their homework. Whether it’s a designated homework nook, a desk in their room, or the kitchen table, having a specific place just for homework will add structure to their routine and help them focus.
Lead by example. As mentioned, children tend to copy their parents’ display of ‘normal’ behaviour. If you read, write, and do other activities that require your thought and effort in front of your children on a regular basis, they’ll be inspired to do the same.
Show an interest in your children’s progress by making time to read with them, helping them with homework tasks, and taking them to libraries or museums – anything that’ll be a fun learning experience. Even just talking about their school day shows them you’re interested in how they’re getting on.
FEATURE: CANDICE CURTIS PHOTOS: FOTOLIA.COM