School is finished for the day and all your child wants to do is relax, perhaps meet up with friends, or try to get up to the next level on that all consuming computer game. Amidst all this activity you feel you are a voice crying out in the wilderness when you enquire as to what homework needs doing. You may as well talk to the cat….
Although you will save yourself a lot of time and bother by installing good homework habits from an early age, this can often fall by the wayside during the normal course of life events. Before you know it, your little treasure has grown into a teen and you are getting awkward telephone calls from teachers and tutors who quite rightly insist that you take responsibility for ensuring that your son or daughter gets their homework in on time.
Even A+ students may have trouble establishing a sensible homework routine – especially at the end of the long summer holidays in the beginning of a new term, so the best way to support your child’s education and help him realize his potential is to establish fair and reasonable homework rules.
It may be best to ask the child himself to find the best time for sitting down to do his work. For example, after tea before watching the television or he may choose to get it out of the way as soon as he comes in from school.
Create a homework space for your child. Older children may wish to go to their room and will need somewhere to sit and be organised such as a desk or table whilst younger children may be quite happy to sit and do it at the kitchen table whilst you cook the dinner.
Always make a point of asking to see their planners. Often we forget to check and sign the planners because they seem to go down into a black hole in their school bags. By asking to check their planners means that your child can appreciate how important you deem it and it will also give you the chance to encourage your child to keep up to date with his work.
Make sure that your child has access to a computer. Encourage him to use this medium for sensible research, and give him advice on how he should apply himself to the task. However, if they cannot understand what has to be done, then do not complete the work for him. If he seems to be having genuine difficulties, then write a note to the teacher or add a comment in his planner to say that he needs extra support in that subject.
Keep distractions to a minimum and make sure that noisy siblings are kept out of the way. Praise him for his efforts and reward him with a nice cup of hot chocolate and extra time on the television when he finishes.
Encourage him to be tidy with his resources. Have an area in the house that can be utilized to encourage an organized nature (such as an in tray and out tray) and a prominent timetable to check off work that they have completed. You could make a point of highlighting his successes with a marker pen and reward him accordingly if he has had a really good week.
Although you may feel that you are fighting a losing battle, the key to making your rules work is to be consistent. For example, before they put the television on, ask them to show you their completed work. When they come in from school consult their planners to see what work has to be done.
Encourage them to do their homework promptly to get it out of the way. Always reward good work. Offer plenty of praise and encouragement. Remind them that are being good role models for younger siblings.
Make sure that your child is eating a sensible diet and getting proper rest at night. A child who has stayed up all night playing computer games is not going to be at their best the next day, and will be too tired to do additional work when they get home.
In conclusion, as a mother of four children I always found that the main reason that homework wasn’t being completed in my home was because my child had got behind with the work and had become despondent had receiving low grades. It is possible to help your child turn things around, but you need to know what is happening, and for that you have to take an active interest in what he is doing at school.
If you find that your child is struggling, then make an appointment to go and see their teacher or tutor as soon as possible before the problem escalates. By working with the school to help establish proper homework habits, you are making a vital contribution to your child’s education and giving them a stable and supporting environment that motivates them to do well.