If you have read any of my posts here at you’ll know that I’m not particularly happy with the education system and the way children are treated within that system.
There are thousands of children in the education system (I’m referring to the UK as I don’t have first-hand experience of other country’s education systems) who are struggling with all sorts of dilemmas and homework is one of those dilemmas.
This article isn’t for those poor children it’s for you, Mums and Dads who need to relieve the homework stress. There are too many other things to cause stress and ‘Homework Anxiety Disorder’ in adults or children should be ousted.
So, if you are one of many who aren’t keen on the drastic decision to either home-school or opt out of homework, here are some tips that, I hope, will reduce the trauma and drama of homework times for you and your children.
Take an interest in your child’s homework
Yes, even if it’s one of those boring worksheets but don’t let that project to your child or you’ll have a real battle on your hands.
Hopefully, you’ll be able to help your child with a piece of worthwhile homework and you can both enjoy the experience and learn something from it.
Try to understand any difficulties your child may have.
It’s so hard to appreciate why a child doesn’t understand concepts that you think are easy. If you are trying to help with understanding, there is no point in doing the same thing over and over again. Find a different way to explain or maybe demonstrate differently.
There is a great inclination to become uptight but try not to say things such as…
“What do you mean, you don’t understand. It’s easy!”
…Or variations of this phrase.
Praise children for any work they manage to complete. It may not be perfect but they’ve had a day at school and have still sat down to do more work. They deserve the merit and should be proud of any effort they put in.
For older children or those who seem to have an extraordinary amount of homework make sure you know what homework they have and when it needs to be handed in to the school.
I can almost hear some of you shouting at me
‘They need to be in charge of their own homework’
‘I haven’t got time to do all of that’
It just makes life a bit easier when you have a schedule and know what is complete and what needs to be done.
Choosing the right environment
In front of the television blaring out the latest series of cartoons isn’t the best place for homework to be carried out.
A good idea is to have a set place for homework. It can be in the corner of a living room or somewhere completely different.
If possible it should be in a calm environment without too many distractions and a supply of stationery and books that may come in handy for homework research.
Always, always, know where a spare pencil can be found. I know it sounds daft but how many times have you heard
“I can’t do my homework because I haven’t got a pencil!!”
The last thing you need after a day at work or home is a confrontation over spellings, how to make a butterfly cocoon or the percentage of water in the earth’s surface.
I know this won’t go down well with the school but you and your child will benefit so much more from a cuddle, chat and story in a calm environment much more than arguing about any aspect of homework.
Find out what is going on at school.
I hope that you will have received some information about the subjects being studied in school but if not, venture beyond the gates and ask for this information.
Ask for a ‘curriculum map’ which should show at least the terms work and if you are lucky the yearly map. At least you’ll be forewarned about any ‘challenging’ subject that may be coming up.
In fact, I think it would much more useful if a yearly subject plan could be given to parents for them to help with the learning. I’m in no doubt that you would be able to think of some innovative ways to teach that would be fun and relevant to their age and ability.
Homework should be a way to reinforce learning that has been done in the day at school or is an ongoing topic. Children shouldn’t be coming home with work that is completely new to them. If you think this may be the case, go into the school and ask for an explanation. You have the right to ask.
The same goes if you think your child is being overloaded with homework or the work is not set at an appropriate level.
There seems to be a consensus that homework shouldn’t be fun or appealing. I can think of no reason what-so-ever why this should be so. If you can make any learning for your child fun, exciting, appealing, worthwhile etc, etc, then for goodness sake go for it!
Remember, it is only homework!