While the jury’s out on whether younger kids should do homework or not, the chances are that your children will eventually come home with some form of homework. Whether it’s a daily task like reading or a one-off project, homework will become a part of the evening routine at some stage.
In the early years of pre-school and lower primary, most kids don’t get much in the way of homework (or none at all, depending on your school’s homework policy). But as they get older, your children are more likely to come home with a pile of books; once they hit high school, they’ll be inundated with it.
No matter what your school’s policy is when it comes to homework, you can do your bit by developing your own policy for helping your children be their best. So that, next time you ask “How’s that homework coming along?” you’re more likely to get a positive response. Here’s how.
Show an active interest in their work
The most important thing you can do is show a real interest in what your children do at school. Even if they don’t have homework, you can encourage conversation about what they’ve learnt at school by asking things like, “What was the most interesting thing you learnt today?” or “What was the weirdest activity you did in class?” This is a great way for them to reflect on what they’ve learnt and reinforce new ideas in their growing minds.
Set up an area for your children to do homework
Once homework starts coming home, it’s important that your children have a quiet space where they can spread out and actually do the work. It might be the dining table for an hour before dinner; it might be a nook off the living room. Ideally, it’s somewhere that you can keep an eye on them and answer any questions they might have.
Get into a routine
Kids love a good routine! If they know that they’ve got an hour or so of playtime after school before they have to get stuck into homework, then they’ll make the most of that hour of play. And (hopefully) they’ll settle into their homework more willingly if it’s already on their radar.
Don’t do it for them
It can be so tempting to jump in and do your children’s homework for them, turning what might have been a 6-out-of-10 mark into a 10-out-of-10. But we all learn from our mistakes. It’s important for your children to make mistakes and for teachers to see where they’re really at. Whether it’s a daily maths sheet or a term science project, let your child do the work. Sure, you can answer questions or give them pointers along the way, but ultimately it should be up to them.
Praise their efforts
Whether you’ve noticed them concentrating on a task for 20 minutes or they’ve come home with a great result on a maths test, give them praise. Show them that you’ve noticed their hard work and they’re more likely to repeat it.