7 ways to help your child with their homework
It’s the start of a new school year and your child’s after-school work may already be piling up. Some students find the difficult transition back to school after the long summer break exacerbated by a sudden influx in extra work. However, a positive attitude to homework is important both for academic success, but also in creating structure and routine. This will subsequently help learners’ engagement with lessons in school and encourage an all round good working attitude.
As a parent you can help them with their homework in many ways. Studies have shown that children undertaking GCSEs and A-Levels do significantly better if they are provided with proper support from their families at home. Helping your child with their homework is just one way to do this.
1. Show an interest in your child’s homework
By making a concerted effort to show interest in the topics your child has brought home, you can encourage your child to develop a further interest in the work. They may initially not have been exposed to an angle of the topic they yet find inspiring, but parental interest could be the initial spark
2. Create a comfortable working environment
Every learner is different, so every learner’s working-area preferences will vary. You can help your child however, by helping them find the right space. Some children may want to work in a communal family space such the kitchen, however some may prefer to work alone in the quiet of their room. Wherever the room, it is usually best that distractions such as the TV or a constantly vibrating mobile phones are removed for the duration of the homework period.
3. Take a Break
Depending on the age of your child, it is often best to encourage a break between school and homework to help them unwind and relax. Although of course, it’s best not to leave homework until too late in the evening as your child could be far too tired to concentrate and thus not complete the work to the best of their ability. Taking a short break after school will allow your child the head-space to relax at home before undertaking the work they have been set.
4. Discuss some goals
The new school year is the perfect opportunity to have an honest conversation with your child about what their homework goals might be. They needn’t necessarily be purely academic (ie getting an A in every assignment). Rather, last year, homework may have been undertaken during the wrong time in the evening and stretching too late towards bedtime. In this case you can work together to outline a couple of goals that will encourage your child to engage with their work in a constructive way. It might be a good idea to review the goals you have set a few months in to the school year to see if they are still relevant and being met by both of you. Ultimately this will improve the work they hand in to their teacher.
5. Don't be overpowering
Of course it is great to be supportive and help your child when they struggle with work, but becoming too involved in your child’s school work can also have a negative effect. The immediate support needed will of course vary depending on the age of your child, but as they get older, the homework support you offer may take a different shape, offering hints rather than solutions to a problem.
If your child asks you to check their work before they submit it to a teacher, it is probably best not to overcorrect their work, as this runs the risk of creating greater gaps in your child’s subject knowledge. Teachers will assume a better understanding of the topic than your child actually has and understanding of the subject than your child has and move on in class. Instead, show your child if you can, where they have started to go awry and see if they can rectify their mistakes themselves from an early stage.
6. Consider providing your child with some extra help
If you’re child is repeatedly struggling with a subject or a particular area within a subject, it could be wise to consider brining in some outside help. A subject like maths doesn’t always benefit from parents attempting to reteach the methods you have learned as they may be totally alien to your child’s teaching. A tutor could be the best person to help your child improve their confidence and get past a particular barrier or mind block. Tutors also provide long-term support for students so that they can talk through their homework with someone outside of the school classroom who understands the teaching methods used, and can help in a non-intimidating manner.
7. Set up a homework plan
A plan may not be necessary for younger children, but it can prove to be a great way to help students manage their workload when the homework begins to mount. A plan can also serve as a motivational tool as students can tick off their assignments as they complete and hand them in.
The benefits of supporting your child with their homework are vast. As well as improving their chances of success in the classroom, you will gain an understanding of what your child is being taught at school and see how well they are progressing. The start of the new school year is the perfect time to start afresh and set out some positive working methods to help your child achieve their best.