Homework has not been anyone’s favorite, whether parent or child, especially after a tough day at school. If it does not end up in tears, it may end up unfinished. Though homework undoubtedly yields tremendous results, we know that kids would prefer their video games and watching TV to doing it. You may have tried a thousand tricks but still find it a nightly struggle helping out with homework. Guess what, it doesn’t have to be anymore because we are here to help!
So, we went knocking on the doors of Miss Arthur who is currently the Head Teacher here, at Ecole Ronsard. With over forty years’ experience, she warmly received us and fed us with some tips ideal for you to help with homework. Read on!
Take advantage of school resources
Some schools have great resources when it comes to homework assistance. For example, here at Ecole Ronsard, we have a homework club where teachers are dedicated to helping your child understand and start the homework process. Additionally, the club offers an opportunity for students to learn from each other. If this fits in your plan, why not give it a shot? According to Ms Arthur, enrolling them does not entirely replace your supervisory role when they get home. You could read over to get their understanding of the work as well as start a conversation.
Tried the older sibling approach?
If you have older children who are capable of supervising their younger siblings’ work, put them in charge. You may be thinking, it would never work, but it actually would. In a 2004 study, Richard Rende, a professor of psychiatry at Brown University, helped find evidence supporting the idea that siblings may be the single most important influence on children.
Siblings do have some influence after all, so give it a shot! They could help by reading the assignments with their younger ones or cutting out shapes and numbers to help in memorization. In doing this, you are teaching them to be responsible and take charge when you are not around. In fact, this can save you a lot of time and money, especially when you have to get a babysitter to come by.
Have a schedule
There is no denying the power of planning. Once you know the amount of homework coming in, knowing the time scheduled for it should not be a difficult task. There will be less pecking and the procedure would be much more peaceful.
A daily schedule means everyone will be on the same page when it’s homework time and this could serve as a powerful defense for parents since debates will be on the low. In drawing their schedule, have them list the type of homework and the time it needs to be done. To develop their interest, have them choose their own design to suit their taste, whether with colour or glitter. If drawing the plan from scratch would be a challenge, there are apps that have been designed to help with homework planning. Who knows, you could draw a lot of inspiration from there!
Once the schedule is ready, it is important to find a location around the house for assignments. If you have more than one kid, you could get each of them a devoted space for their homework to avoid distractions. Don’t forget to add materials too. When spacing is settled you are guaranteed of not hearing “Mum, Julie stole my pen!” rants! Also, remember to keep gadgets such as phones, TV and video games away since they could completely take away their focus.
Being with your ward during homework time is really helpful. Since you are close to them, you can keep an eye on them and they can ask you questions about your day. While they are working, you could also get busy with other things or help research their work. Leaving them alone may not be a good idea since you’ll keep coming back to help! So, save yourself the frustration by being with them till they are done. While with them you can check for errors, glaring mistakes and completion. And don’t forget that getting a snack as an accompaniment would not be a bad idea at all while you chat and work.
Let’s face it, nowadays, it is hard catching up with time, especially when it comes to juggling work and home. Aside from the stress, parents have to deal with one big distraction called Social Media. Isn’t it amazing how replying just one harmless message on Whatsapp or Facebook turns into swiping through a thousand statuses? One way of dealing with this phenomenon is by putting the phone away or silencing notification tones. Homework time should be a no-phone zone time: ‘No Facebook, Whatsapp, Instagram or Twitter till homework is done.’ After homework time, you have all the time to check statuses and reply messages. Pretty simple, right?
Avoid doing homework for them
A 2014 survey by The Telegraph UK found that around a quarter of British parents do their children’s homework for them. It’s not your fault. Sometimes you are tempted because you have deadlines to meet or can’t stand seeing your child struggle with their work.
Since you want the best for your child as a parent, the only way they will discover is by doing it themselves. Having them do it by themselves creates opportunities for mental stimulation and organization of thoughts, according to Ms. Arthur. What you can do when you find yourself being tempted is to move back and start explaining to your child how he or she can work to arrive at the answer. For example, you can link a math homework to an everyday life activity like this: ‘Sweetie, If I gave you 10 apples and asked you to share it equally among five of your friends, how many apples would each of them get?’ or ‘If Daddy gave you five bars of chocolate on Monday and you ate two bars, how many bars would you have left?’ They always do the trick!
If you always find yourself doing it for them, they will end up never learning and this may retard their learning progress, increase dependence on others, or even reduce their sense of responsibility.
Rewards and Encouragement
Kids shying away from homework does not always mean they don’t want to do it. Sometimes, it is a matter of how they see it. Some children see it as a chore or even a huge mountain they have to overcome. Sounds pretty scary right? What you could try if you have such a child who has a phobia for assignments is to attach completion of homework to rewards and treats. Such rewards could include stopping by for ice-cream, giving them freedom to play with friends, play with their favorite toy or watch their favorite show. This, in turn, will make homework time a time they always look forward to.
Do you remember when you struggled during a math homework and ended up in tears? Certainly! Before your child bursts into tears, try sharing your childhood homework difficulties or some challenges you face at work with them. Getting to know that mummy or daddy had struggles too but were able to overcome is enough motivation to get them through. Remember, they always look up to you therefore your encouragement is key!
Communicate your challenges with teachers
Quite often, there are some challenges kids face when doing homework. These may range from difficulty in understanding the instruction or forgetfulness about what was explained earlier in class. If such and more challenges are evident, try informing the teachers so you could both find a perfect plan in helping out your child through that problem. These options would be better than simply ignoring the problem at hand or pretending it never existed.
Ultimately, remember that as a parent, your aims are not only about ensuring academic success, but building them holistically to become great adults in the future without being over-dependent on you.
How do you spend homework time with your child? Do you agree with our tips? Share with us by commenting!