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We’ve already written a post about how to get your child to do their homework but what can you do to help them make the most of homework time?
In this post, we share our top homework tips for parents.
Establish a Homework Routine
One of our most effective homework tips is to set a routine with your child. Doing homework at the same time on the same set day avoids arguments and procrastination. If your child knows that they have homework to do between the hours of 6pm and 7pm every second night, then they’ll be able to arrange other evening activities around these essential hours.
Another great homework tip is to do homework early in the evening, ideally, as soon as your child comes home from school. By the time they arrive home, they’ll have had time to unwind from the school day yet will feel fresh enough to tackle an extra hour’s learning. The later your child does their homework, the more tired they’ll be and the less they’ll be able to concentrate.
Space Out the Learning
Who said homework had to be done all in one go? If your child has a particularly challenging homework task to complete, encourage them to break it down into small chunks. This might mean spending half an hour on the task initially and then having a 15-minute break before returning to complete the rest. Spacing out learning can be particularly effective for large or difficult tasks.
Get to Know What the Teacher is Looking For
Try to find out about your school’s homework policy
Every teacher has a slightly different way of assigning homework. Getting to know what your child’s class teacher expects from them can really help you guide your child’s efforts at home. Attending school events, parents’ evenings and conferences can provide a great opportunity to ask questions about homework tasks and gather more information about homework policies.
Keep Track of Your Child’s Homework Efforts
Studies show that we try harder and perform better when we feel that attention is being paid to our efforts. By showing your child that you’re interested in their studies, you’ll encourage them to put in extra effort so that they do well. When your child comes home from school, ask them about their day – did they have any quizzes, tests etc.
And then ask if they have any homework assignments and ask them to explain what the task involves. Once they’ve finished their assignments, check it over with your child and make any suggestions that could improve the work.
Set a Good Example Yourself
If you have your own paperwork to attend to, either from work or household-related, set a good example by setting aside time to get it done. You may need to balance your books, work out your food budgets, or simply read a book. Children are more likely to follow what their parents do, than what they say.
Praise Good Effort
If your child has made an extra effort with their homework, show them that you’ve noticed by giving them praise. When we receive praise for something, it encourages us to continue doing well in the future. A simple ‘well done’ is all it takes to make your child feel like they’ve achieved. For particularly good efforts, you may want to reward your child with a treat.
Beat the Clock
Homework games can make certain tasks more fun
One of our favourite homework tips is to turn tasks into a ‘beat the clock’ game. This can be particularly effective if your child feels demotivated about a certain task or has a ‘boring’ piece of homework to do. Set a timer for a certain period, say half an hour, and set your child the challenge of completing the task within that period. Even if they don’t manage to complete the whole assignment, they’ll still have made a significant start.
For some more examples of these types of games, take a look at our post Homework Games for Primary School Kids.
Checklists are a great way of ensuring that your child covers everything they need to. If your child has been set a large homework task for the week, creating a checklist helps break it done into smaller, manageable units. Once every task has been complete, your child can use the checklist again to make sure that they haven’t missed anything. For more advice on checklists, check out our post How to Help Your Child Revise.
If They’re Struggling, Get Help
If, despite your best efforts, your child is still struggling with their homework, you could consider getting some extra help. This could involve asking for extra help from the class teacher, or hiring a private tutor to help at home. Although a tutor won’t do your child’s homework for them, they will dedicate their time to helping your child understand what they need to do.
Hopefully, these homework tips for parents will help you in encouraging your child to make the most of their homework time rather than simply going through the motions.