Helping with homework

Homework is a drag for everyone. The last thing you want to do after a long day is sit down and go over math problems and this is probably how your kids feel too. However, homework is an essential part of their learning and development. Below are some easy tips for homework success:

Choose an appropriate location – some children will work best when they are aware from all distractions such as in their bedroom while others will work better if they are sitting with siblings and close to you at the kitchen table. Get a feel for what setting works best with your child.

Have all resources available to them – this includes a calculator, extra pencils and erasers, spare paper, dictionary, etc. Having all of these things readily available in a container that you can pull out every day eliminates the need for your child to ‘search’ for these items and waste time doing so. Furthermore, make sure the most important resource is always available – you.

Choose a Designated Homework Time Each Day – this will depend on your individual schedule and after school activities. Your kids may have soccer practice or want to play outside until 5:00 and thus you might want to make homework between 5:00 and 6:00 each day. That way you can cook dinner while supervising and helping when they need to. Choosing later on in the evening may not work if you are all too drained. Make the time you choose homework day every school day.

Stick to the Routine– Even if your child doesn’t have homework to do, get him to work on something else, such as colouring or making a craft so he is used to sitting down and having this time to focus on learning.

Allow Time for Breaks – asking a child to sit still for a full hour can be difficult. Instead, break up the homework session so that there are one or two quick (five minute) breaks where he can stretch and relax.

Encourage Self Editing – furthermore, end the study session ten minutes early and ask your child to go over his work and check for errors. Editing and self evaluation is an important skill to have and your child should get into the habit of checking his work early on.

Keep His Homework Organized – too much clutter can make it impossible for anyone to focus. Set up a filing system to keep different homework assignments for your child.  Choose colour coded files for different subjects and perhaps focus on one subject each day. If his homework is organized from the start, then there will be more time spent actually studying and doing the assignments and less time digging through his bag or notebook trying to remember what actually needs to be done.

Use the Reward System – homework should be part of the daily routine and thus your child shouldn’t expect to be rewarded every single time he sits for an hour and does his homework. However, if he does keep it up for a week, a month or a term (depending on where his levels were at the beginning), then offer a reward to let him know that you are proud of him and that he is going an excellent job.

As your child gets older homework will become more and more important. While your child may be given a few math equations to work on in primary school, by secondary school she is probably coming home with three or four large assignments each week, often all due on the same day. Practicing time management and organization and devoting a certain period of time each day to studying will prepare her for the heavier homework loads to come.

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