Top homework tips for parents

With the new school term kicking off shortly, children and parents everywhere will be faced with that favourite afterschool activity - homework. Manda Barnes, Director of Curriculum at Maths and English tuition specialists, TLC Education, reveals the tips and tricks parents need in order to help their child navigate the upcoming term's homework assignments.

Be sure to build your child’s confidence when helping with homework, rather than undermining it. If they get a question wrong, praise them for something else they have done right, or the way they have approached the problem. Confidence is key to learning.

Find out the strategy taught in school for a particular subject or problem, and use the same method at home. Showing them ‘another way’ can cause confusion.

Build ‘homework time’ into your evening routine; as a part of everyday life, it will become a habit rather than a daunting event. Try and ensure your child has eaten beforehand, as low sugar levels lead to irritability and lack of concentration.

An excellent way to check understanding is to get your child to explain something to you, or to another child. Putting the explanation into words and communicating it verbally to another person will help make it clearer in their own minds.

Use the excellent material freely available on the internet; websites such as BBC Bitesize can help to reinforce any particularly difficult concepts.

Try and make homework fun by making it into a game – younger children in particular enjoy this.  Use driving time in the car as an opportunity to practise spellings, or the ‘number bond’ game, where the child must pair two numbers together to make the specified sum:

Parent: “Number 10 – I say 5, you say...”
Child: “5”

Parent: “I say 9, you say...”
Child: “1”

Bear in mind that progress isn’t always a smooth upward curve - children often plateau in their learning levels. Rest assured that if you continually assist your child in a loving and supportive manner, you will see eventually see results.

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