Tips on surviving your child's homework
Five simple ideas to encourage learning at home
Get into the habit
Avoiding the daily battle to drag your child away from the television and towards a textbook can be as simple as implementing a regular routine. Set aside some study time every day for your child to focus on her work with you or another adult available nearby to offer assistance. Stick to the routine even if her teacher hasn’t set any homework by filling the time with reading or puzzles, thus ensuring your little creature of habit comes to expect study time on a daily basis.
Create a productive environment
It may sound obvious but making sure your child has somewhere comfortable, clean and distraction free for her studies is extremely important. Everyone works differently so try to find out what suits your child best whether that’s a quiet desk in her bedroom, lying in front of the fire or at the kitchen table with a little background music. Avoid blaring televisions and squabbling siblings then leave her to focus on her work whilst you get on with something else.
Brush aside any fear-inducing memories of homework from your school days and take an active role in your child’s learning. Basic French grammar may not exactly hold your attention but disinterest is as infectious as enthusiasm so paint on a smile, ask plenty of questions and be available to work through any issues which may arise (even if primary level mathematics are a little beyond you)
…But know when to back off
Bear in mind that your role as a parent is to help and not to do. Resist the temptation to sit next to your child or give the full answer to a problem if you feel she could solve it herself with some guidance. A child who is taught how to work through problems rather than given the solution is much more likely to develop into an independent, resourceful and responsible learner.
Engage with the school
Whilst it is certainly not advisable to go marching down to your child’s classroom every time you have a concern about the difficulty level or volume of her homework, if your child is having serious difficulties then do not be afraid to discuss this with her teacher. Spending three hours on a piece of homework that should only take 30 minutes is a sign that something is seriously wrong. Perhaps your child does not fully understand her assignments? Perhaps she has fallen behind because of absence? A brief discussion about your child’s homework issues and why they are arising should arm you with the knowledge you need to get her learning back on track.
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