I'm currently burying my head in the sand about the fact that I have only two weeks left of the Summer holidays before I need to return (part-time) to school. Nothing to do with having to work, more to do with having to not be with The Boy full time. However, all too soon my brain is going to start thinking about making sure my work polo shirts are cleaned and ironed, checking that I've done my planning, made any resources that I need and general 'school' stuff.
I'm not the only one with school weighing on their minds. Parents will be racing off to buy the last remaining scraps of uniform, children will be thinking about which group of friends they'll be playing with, and for some parents (new to the school system as a parent) they may not even be wondering about homework. Well, here's a quick newsflash for those unaware: primary school children are set homework. Government guidelines and all that lot. However, how parents help their children complete it, and the attitude displayed towards it, will set the standard for your child for the rest of their education.
This is the most relevant guest-post ever on my blog, full of top tips. It is worth a serious read!
Helping young children with homework is a task that definitely requires a lot of attention from parents. After a long day at school it can be a real challenge to motivate your children to do homework, but home study is designed to help them consolidate what they have learned during the day. At a young age, they will be tested on their reading, spelling and maths skills in school so it’s important to encourage and help them practise to aid their development. Helping with homework doesn’t mean doing for them, but there are many different ways you can motivate and help your child when it comes to homework.
The school’s homework policy
Understanding what your child’s school expects from their homework is the first thing to find out, especially at the start of the year. School’s usually have a homework diary system where you can check what your child needs to do, but it’s still beneficial to understand what the school’s expectations and guidelines are when it comes to homework. Then you know how much time needs to spent on each task, and explain this to your child.
Study area at home
Having a quiet area for study will help your child concentrate on the task at hand – you won’t get anywhere if there’s a mass of distracting toys nearby! If possible, help your child study in different room to other family members. Use the dining room table as a desk and lay out your child’s study aids; make it as easy as possible for your child to work. Having a separate setting for work and play will help them to focus on the tasks at hand.
Fitting homework into the family schedule is vital, but not an easy task. Studying at too late a time will be counter-productive for your child, so it’s important not to leave it till the last minute. If it’s becoming an issue to fit homework in between after-school activities and recreation time, some sacrifices might have to be made as homework is a top priority. Creating a routine is important so your child always knows when to do their homework and it becomes a habit, rather than something that’s optional.
To make it more fun you could set up a weekly chart system; for example, when they have completed their homework task they get a gold star.
Encouraging and interacting with your child is the best way to help with their homework, especially when your child is at a young age. Praise them for their good work, but don’t heap massive expectations on them – however if consistent problems with their work is becoming apparent, schedule a meeting with the teacher to see what steps can be taken. Talk to your child about their school day; encourage them to share what activities they have done – recapping what they have done alongside doing homework will help to cement their learning.
Danielle is writing on behalf of Banana Moon, an online retailer who specialises in personalised t-shirts, sports kits for schools and clubs and hoodies for school leavers.