It is important to understand what essential homework is, and when it is due! Sounds simple, but I’ve noticed a growing number of parents who are unsure about what they need to get involved with and to what extend. What homework should your child be doing alone, and how much help should you give? Making sure your child is interested in their homework can be helped by your influence – ask them to show you their finished product and ensure they know you are there for help if needed. But what do you do if the work is not up to scratch and it needs to be done again? Does this shatter your child’s confidence? Is it better to do this than get a low mark?! These are the questions parents constantly ask themselves and me!
Homework is used to help children practice organising themselves, taking responsibility and practicing new skills and concepts learned in school. It should be set with clear aims and objectives which are valued by the children completing it.
Once settled into a routine, it can be very difficult to adapt to change, so during term time, homework acts as a stabiliser. Once the holidays start, it can be difficult to keep the children into a routine, often undoing the progress they worked so hard for. So, to help keep things in the holiday spirit, there are lots of fun things children can do, instead of homework or alongside it. A lot of workbooks cover most of the subjects taught in school, and with the addition of e-books they can also be very interactive. If your child prefers practical things, there are plenty of fun craft and science activities which can also be purchased online. Children really enjoy being busy and learning, so new learning activities at home will be welcomed!
Changes to routine can also affect you, the parents! If your child has recently started secondary school you’ll know that lots of information stops finding its way to you, teachers communicate mainly with the children. It may be difficult to find out what homework is due if your child doesn’t tell you – if this is the case, don’t push your child or undermine them, there are other ways you can find this information out for yourself.
I would suggest your first port of call is the school’s homework policy – most schools do have one on the website or a welcome pack. Check if there is a set schedule. Some will be more elaborate than others, whilst some may simply say homework is directed by the teacher, leaving you none the wiser. So, in this situation, I would contact your child’s head of year for some more information. Some schools have a weekly diary which require you to sign it at the end of every week. This can be a good tool for you to use and find out what your child has been up to during the week.
It is also ok if your child seems to be receiving different amounts of homework than other children – some receive more, some less. I understand this can be concerning as you may feel your child is not pushed enough. If you are worried, again I would advise you get in touch with your child’s head of year and discuss the issues you may have.
Your child’s teachers are a port of call for support – if you find your children are struggling with homework, and you aren’t able to help explain, please do seek support. Teachers will know how best to deal with the problems and they should explain to you the solutions available. You will find there are lots of revision guides available online and in high street bookshops for all school age groups. These explain very clearly all areas of each part of the curriculum for various ages. You will also find additional questions and practice papers for your child to use, whilst the answers given can help you understand what is required from them. I also recommend using the free online resources such as BBC Bitesize <bbc.co.uk/bitesize/ks2/maths> and ‘Maths is Fun’ <mathsisfun.com>.
Homework can be fun and engaging – you never know, you may learn a thing or two!
Until next time,