Picture the first thing that comes into your head when you hear the word homework… It is most likely that you are picturing a child sitting at their desk with a pencil, a piece of paper and a notebook; or in this new day and age, a computer. Well there is always going to be an element of paperwork, but there is progress in transforming what we used to call ‘homework chores’ into stimulating learning activities for children.
In today’s blog post we discuss with parents the challenges that they face with homework in the modern schooling system, how a parent can best help their child with their homework and where future improvements can be made.
After a busy day at school, homework is sometimes the last thing a child wants to think about, resulting in children ‘accidentally’ forgetting to mention they have homework, putting it off, or the classic (in particular with younger children) not understanding the homework.
Ravinder (parent of 2, Years 6 and 11) comments that during the early years of schooling there is a bigger sense of community and friendship amongst parents, which eliminates this problem. In primary school, systems are set in place to inform parents about particular day’s homework and when spellings are due, making it easier to manage and plan a child’s homework schedule.
The challenge comes when children move to secondary school and gain more independence. Helen (parent of 3, Years 4, 9 and 11) believes that as this transition happens, parents begin to lose communication with other parents and teachers; seeing them on the occasional Parents Day! It is a natural transition, as children grow into teenagers they take more responsibility in managing their own homework; but this also means homework becomes easier to disguise from parents. To conquer this issue, it is important that from an early age a routine is given, and it will teach your child how to organise their own work when reaching secondary school.
Helping your child with their homework may seem like a small thing, but gives parents the opportunity to spend quality time with children, as well as create an effective learning environment by eliminating distractions and being responsive to a child’s individual learning style. Sometimes it is hard to find the time… or to remember the first thing about algebra; but showing your willingness to help your child with their problems will go a long way in the future…. especially as they grow up and begin to face bigger problems, but we won’t get into that!
So how do we make homework more fun? Ravinder and Helen both agree that there are so many types of homework, but the one that children enjoy most are the projects that take children away from the desk and into real environments. Taking a picture of a flower for photography or keeping count of the weekly shop spend, or working in a team to create some maths questions. A child thrives on that social interaction between friends and their parents, and these types of homework allow this in a more enjoyable way!
Homework has certainly changed since we were children, we would love to hear the challenges you have faced with your child’s homework and if you have any special practices in your household?!