Does homework seem as much of a chore for you as it does for your kids? It’s a struggle for most parents to make time for homework support around an already hectic schedule, but keep these top tips in mind and the battle’s half won!
1. Choose the right time for homework
You might think the best time for homework is straight after school. But kids often need some time to themselves after a full day.
Half an hour playing or cuddled up on the sofa before doing spelling or maths could recharge those batteries and make homework time more productive.
You might also consider leaving reading until right before bed. This splits up the homework time and can gently replace or complement the bedtime story routine. Ask your child to read out load to you before you do the same back. This makes reading seem less like work and it becomes something you can all enjoy.
2. Set a homework routine
The key is to identify the time your child is most likely to be able to work productively and include this in the daily schedule.
It’s also important that homework time fits in with the rest of the family; trying to help with reading while cooking dinner or entertaining another child isn’t going to work.
Make sure you’re not busy or distracted when helping with homework. Making homework time part of a set routine is the best way to achieve this.
3. Create a learning environment
Homework needs to be done in a quiet place that is fit for purpose.
Art and craft belong on the kitchen or dining room table where all the materials needed are close at hand.
Reading, spelling or maths require concentration, so reduce distractions. Turn the TV, radio and washing machine off, and put away toys or games that try to tempt attention away from the task at hand.
4. Have basic learning resources to hand
Keep basic items for homework close by and well organised; these might include pens, pencils, plain and lined paper in a variety of sizes as well as art and craft materials. This saves time preparing and tidying up, and ensures that homework time is for just that!
You might also want to have a selection of general knowledge books which your child can use for research and independent work; for example an up to date atlas, dictionary and thesaurus.
5. Using online research tools effectively
The internet has become a key feature in learning from an early age. When working on the computer, make sure you remove all distractions – such as other web pages.
Organising a bookmark folder specifically for age-relevant websites and programs will reduce general browsing time and encourage focused study or research.
Again, disks or flash drives for saving work should be close at hand as well as notepads and pens.
With proper organisation you can make sure you have enough time and resources to ensure your child is fully supported during their learning time – without disrupting your own routines!