Even the concept of homework is under fire at the moment. There are those who say that it is an unnecessary burden on our kids who are already tested far more than previous generations of school children.
On the other hand, research says that 30% of a child's learning comes from their teachers with a whopping 70% coming from us, their parents and carers.
To me, that indicates clearly that home learning is pretty important, whether in the form of formal homework or not.
So what can you do to help your child with their homework?
Revamp their homework workstation
|All accessories from Flying Tiger.|
Having all their books and stationery to hand will make it easier to get the work done. It's also a great opportunity to work with your child to design their space together - which will hopefully add more encouragement to open their school bags and actually get the books out!
We're revamping Caitlin's bedroom at the moment and are fitting new wardrobes but we have created a desk area where she can work in peace and escape her noisy younger brother. Once our DIY is finished we plan to add more shelving for books and some task lighting.
It doesn't have to cost a lot. We found all our accessories for under £20 at Flying Tiger. (see my current giveaway to win Halloween decorations here).
Create a homework timetable
When your kids are younger, this really has to be a 'team effort'. I'm sure you have experienced that sinking Sunday night feeling when you find a piece of urgent homework that has to be handed in on Monday which has been languishing at the bottom of your child's backpack.
I've learned now to empty out all the scraps of paper on Friday to check we know what is needed over the weekend.
That way, we can create a simple homework timetable and split library books up into a set number of chapters per night, for example.
No TV, Gaming, or iPad until they've done their homework
There are times when your child comes home exhausted and it's obvious that they need a break before starting any homework.
But when the work has to be done, we found it's best to hide the remotes and tablets until it's done. If you wanted to be extra tough, you could change the WiFi password until it is!
Sit down and do it with them
Not all the time and I'm not suggesting you do the work for them but taking an active interest in what they're doing and letting them show you their workings out or designs will show them that you're there to help and may even encourage a bit of inspired collaboration.
Take the homework away from home
Sometimes it makes a refreshing change to do their homework somewhere else. You could sit with them in your local library or take their spelling books when you're sat waiting in a car for ballet / Taekwondo/swimming to end.
Ieuan is particularly fond of spelling practice in a restaurant down the road from Caitlins ballet class where we bribe him with a large blackcurrant squash and a packet of crisps.
Take learning into the real world
If, for example, they're studying money then take them to the supermarket and show them how much things cost. Get them to work out the value of what you're putting in your basket. Let them hand over the money and check the change.
If they're studying weights and measurements, do some baking and let them weigh out the ingredients or help with some DIY and take the measurements.
Teaching children how to actually apply what they're learning will help the subject matter to stick much easier.
There are many ways to help your child with their homework but the most important thing is to encourage them and help them to understand that learning is a continuous process that needs daily application.
Recognise when your child is struggling
If you think your child is not coping with their homework, then you could consider hiring a private tutor. You should also talk to your child's teacher to see if there are extra resources to help them in school.
You might also want to check that there is nothing else interfering with your child's learning such as health or friendship issues.
It's perfectly normal to hate doing your homework but as I tell my two, it's a competitive world and a good standard of academic achievement can only stand them in good stead for supporting the Husband and I in our old age!