Last week, we received this email from a parent within our 3P Learning community.  She paints a colourful picture of weekday home-life and the feature of homework in the evening routine- that many of us can empathise with.  

“I was juggling the kids’ usual evening routine when my daughter confronted me in the kitchen, in tears, frustrated with a maths problem.

She had been asked to colour in one quarter of the 12 apples in the book.  I took it upon myself to try and explain fractions. Two hours later I was still harping on, we had bruised and dented all the apples in the house as we ‘divided them into groups’. She was blank faced and glassy eyed and I was at a loss.

The next afternoon I decided to try a new tactic, so I signed her into Mathletics. 20 minutes later she had finished four fractions activities with gold bars.”

*Lucy – mum of 3.(*name changed for privacy reasons)

It seems the challenges this parent faced is one that resonated with many parents here at 3P Learning. This child was facing a new and realitively complex concept in her homework. As parents and carers we may understand the concepts our kids are struggling with, but can we explain it in the most effective way? This made us wonder – Is homework beneficial or is it just placing additional stress on kids or their parents?

We asked Phil Walsh, (3P Learning Education Advisor and father of five) his opinion on the value of homework. 

 “As parents we really wrestle with the concept of homework as it often competes with family time, yet we know the value of encouraging our children to build good study habits and re-enforce what is being taught at school. If homework is targeted, focused and it incorporates different learning styles then it is beneficial in the long run. Our engaging interactive products are great homework resources as they combine visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning styles. It can also help relieve family stress as children can embark on independent and self-directed learning using the variety of resources on offer.​”

The topic of homework provoked a debate in the office amongst parents and teachers and inevitability there were a number of schools of thought. Whether you love or hate homework, its a fact of life for school kids. So here are some helpful tips for busy families.

Strategy with weekly homework for primary kids

  • Give kids time off after school to eat afternoon tea and have a short play, before starting homework.
  • Take advantage of the weekend as a chance to get ahead on homework for the week ahead.
  • Encourage your children to work together. Older children can benefit from helping younger kids with their homework or listening to readers.
  • Let them work through homework independently. Remember its ok for kids to get questions wrong. Encourage them to keep trying.
  • If you have time, try to check their homework when they are finished. This is a great opportunity for parents to identify gaps in students learning.
  • Encourage older children to check their own work. This encourages kids to check over their answers and to get them in the practise of checking their answers in exams as well as helping to ensure kids read the questions properly.
  • If kids don’t understand a concept try explaining it to them one on one. If it’s not an area your confident with, encourage your kids to seek help from their teachers or online. Youtube and google have stacks of resources to help explain concepts to kids or other online resources such as Mathletics, Spellodrome, Reading Eggs and IntoScience are  great revision resources that are fully aligned to the curriculum.
  • There may be times when your kids don’t understand the concept, they are sick or tired. Don’t push it too hard, a simple note explaining the situation to the teacher is better than a family blow up.