Homework

“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! 

Sometimes homework can become quite a battle between parents and children.  Kids often appear to put off homework to the very last minute or don’t do it at all, whilst their parents fear that they may fail at school if they don’t get on with it. The result can often be conflict and strife.  As parents we can sometimes be concerned about not understanding the homework that has been given to the child.  

There are ways of taking the heat or confusion out of the situation.  We asked other parents how they cope. Their tips and suggestions are included below.

Making homework a part of the routine

Give children a chance to talk about their school work - make it a natural part of asking how their day was. Even if you know nothing about a particular subject, you can still help just by talking and listening and helping them find their own answers.

If you do not understand the work they have been given, use the internet or ask friends and family to take a look. Once you have an understanding for 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 their hard work. Many schools have a homework diary, or daybook for parents to sign each day. This helps you and your child know that their homework is being monitored.

Creating the right environment for homework 

Help your child keep to a routine. Some children prefer to do homework straight after school whereas others prefer to 'unwind' first, and then do homework later. Let your child decide what is right for them. Try to create a suitable place where they can do homework, ideally somewhere with a clear work surface, good lighting and no interruptions. You might have to live with some music as many children like to work with music on to keep them company. 

Some children prefer to study alone, others with friends or family. If there isn’t space in your home try a local library or homework club.   Visit the local library with your child and encourage them to use it. They can use computers there to get on the internet if you don’t have access at home.  The internet can be great for looking up information and finding out more about a topic, but do note that it shouldn't be used as a substitute for doing the work - downloading course work or essays from the web will be viewed as cheating by schools and colleges.

Getting help from your school

Many schools have lunchtime clubs specifically for children who struggle to do their homework at home or need support to help them complete the work. Find out if your school has a club like this, as it could help to minimise conflict at home.

Many schools have introduced homework that can be completed online and this is what may be set for your child. 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 usually book a computer for your child at your local library.  

If your child has specific learning needs and you feel the homework is an issue, make an appointment with the teacher and SENCO as soon as you can. Discuss your concerns with them and ask for some advice on managing this. It may be that they can do some of the work at school to help relieve the pressure at home. They may struggle with mainstream homework and may need an alternative.

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How we can help you

If you would like support and advice, you can talk to one of our Family Support Workers by calling our confidential helpline on 0808 800 2222. You can also share experiences and advice with other parents on our Forums. Family Lives is here for you and you can contact us about any family issue, big or small.

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