Homework can be a stressful part of a family’s week. Here are a few tips to help get off to a strong start this school year and help make positive homework and study habits that can benefit your children long into the future.
Start the year with a homework plan – Finding time to get homework done each week can be tricky between extra curricular activities and family commitments. Try to schedule a set amount of time to do homework each day at a time that works for both you and your kids. If they have netball after school on Tuesdays, ask them if they would like to do their allotted homework before school or quietly in their room before dinner. Remind them of this commitment and that their are consequences if they don’t finish their homework. If they get behind, they have to spend longer on it the following afternoon or if its an ongoing issue, they may need to cut back on their extra curricular activities.
Give kids a break – After a long day of school it’s recommended that kids have some afternoon tea and a short break before settling down to do their homework. Encourage kids to play outside and burn some energy, rather than turning on the television.
Set a place to do homework – Designate an appropriate place for each child to do their homework. Younger children can benefit from doing their homework in a living area with a parent available for help, while older kids may prefer a distraction free environment like a desk in their bedroom or in the study. It’s beneficial for the whole family to work quietly at the same time, encourage young children without homework to colour in or play quietly in their own bedroom to minimise distraction.
Don’t be too helpful – It’s important to support your child with their homework, but don’t do it for them. When children first start school, you will need to be more involved in their homework as they may need help to read and understand instructions. Focus on explaining to them what the question is asking, rather than answering the questions. As kids get older they may need some assistance to get them on the right track. No matter the age, remember homework is about developing independent learners. Encourage your children to work on their homework as independently as possible from the start.
Ask the right questions – If your child is having trouble with a mathematics question, rather than taking over, ask questions that allow your child to explain the problem they are working on. This can help you to identify their area of confusion.
Some good questions to ask are:
- What is the problem you’re working on?
- What does the question say?
- Are there any words in the question that you don’t understand?
- Where do you think you should begin?
- Can you find some help in your textbook or notes?
- What have you done so far?
- Is there anything that you already know that might help with this particular problem?
- Why don’t we look for help together on the Internet?
Remember -Beyond the important curriculum outcomes, working independently on homework helps children to develop crucial problem solving skills. It’s important children learn how to seek out answers without assistance from parents and teachers. Encourage children to use the countless resources available in their Mathletics licence, which is fully mapped to each year of the Australian and state curriculum with each curriculum topic fully supported with activities.
For more information on supporting your child’s educational experience, have a look at our parents as partners page.