When I had children I spent hours thinking about all that comes with having kids; changing nappies, getting the right pushchair, feeding them all the right foods, worrying about bullying and what kind of activities they’ll want to partake in. I have to admit that one thing that didn’t cross my mind was homework. I didn’t realise that having children meant re-learning long division and struggling with physics for a second time.
Homework is an integral part of a child’s education, and performing well or poorly when it comes to homework is setting them up to either succeed or struggle in school. Practice might not make perfect, as the old saying goes, but it can make an enormous difference. So if your child is struggling with their homework, or you’re struggling to help them, then check out these quick tips.
1. Be There for Them
Be in the room with them. You don’t necessarily need to be sitting next to them looking over their shoulder (in fact, this is a bad idea) but be in the same room, maybe reading a book or answering some emails so they don’t hesitate to ask you questions if they get stuck. This way you’ll also be able to see if there are particular points they’re having issues with and go over them. You’ll also see if they agonize over a problem or two and can let them know it’s alright to move on and come back to those at the end.
2. Take it Step by Step
Be sure to get them to take breaks if they have a large amount of work to do. You don’t want to burn them out. Set a schedule; for each 10 problems they solve or 20 pages they read they can take a 10 minute break to do something fun. This’ll keep their minds fresh, work as a home version of a classroom rewards tool, and break the work up a little so it doesn’t seem like such a discouraging load.
3. Feed their Minds
Have snacks on hand, but make sure they’re healthy snacks. (Chocolate and Pop Tarts do not qualify.) Instead have some cut up vegetables and dip, or apple slices with a small scoop of peanut butter.
4. Be Honest
Let them know if there’s a subject you weren’t too great at in school. This will calm their nerves and help with any kind of pressure they may feel. Sometimes kids have unreal expectations for themselves, and while trying your best is important, failure because you set your own bar too high isn’t helpful.
5. Know When they Need Extra Help
Talk to your child about whether or not they think having a tutor would be helpful for certain subjects. You teaching them can be helpful, but sometimes it’s just too much pressure or your kid can feel like you’re judging them even if you’re not. Having an unrelated person is sometimes the best way for kids to really learn.
6. Location, Location, Location
Pick the right study nook before you do anything else. Laid out on her or his bed may seem like the most comfortable position, but once he or she starts nodding off you’ll realise it probably wasn’t the best decision. A dining room table, kitchen or computer room are probably your best options.
Do you have any tips for helping your child with their homework?
- License: Creative Commons image source
Estelle Page is a mother of two kids, both whom she thinks are brilliant (but she might be a little biased). She enjoys writing in her spare time and blogs for various companies such as Classroom Carrots.