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"Getting them to settle down to homework seems to be a bit of an uphill struggle. And as for the maths and science - I couldn’t even help them out!"
Homework can sometimes feel as daunting for parents as it is for children. Parents can worry when their children put homework off until the last minute or even avoid doing it all together, which can lead to conflicts at home. On the other hand, parents might also be daunted by the thought of not understanding their children’s homework if called upon to lend a hand.
We asked some parents how they cope with the pressures created by homework, and here’s what they told us:
Give children a chance to talk about their school work - when you ask them about your day, check in to see what they've been learning. Even if you know nothing about a particular subject, you can still help by listening and helping them find their own answers. If you do not understand the work they have been given, look it up - use the internet or ask friends and family to have a look. Once you have an understanding of the work, you may be better placed to support your child.
Help your children take responsibility for organising and doing their homework. Never forget to praise your child for the work they put in. Many schools have a homework diary, or daybook for parents to sign each day. This helps you and your child keep track of homework.
Some children prefer to do homework straight after school whereas others prefer to relax a bit first. Let your child find a routine that suits them, and encourage them to stick to it.. It's important to create a suitable place where they can do homework, ideally somewhere with a clear work surface, good lighting and no interruptions. If they prefer to work with music on, let them.
If you don't have the space in your home, or need somewhere to access the internet, try a local library or homework club. It’s worth noting that, while there are lots of great online resources to help with homework, your child should be doing their own work and learning for themselves.
Find out what facilities your child's school offers. Many schools have lunchtime clubs specifically for children who struggle to work at home or need support to help them complete the work. Many schools have also introduced homework that can be completed online, which may suit your child better. If you are struggling, speak to the school and get some advice sooner rather than later so they can help. If you do not have internet access for online homework, you can visit your local library.
If your child has specific learning needs, you can make an appointment with the teacher and SENCO (Special Educational Needs Coordinator) to ensure these needs are met when homework is set. Your child is entitled to reasonable adjustments, which may include additional resources, and alternative methods for completing homework.
If you would like further support and advice about homework and how to help your children, you can contact us free on 0808 800 2222.