Homework

Estimated read: 8 minutes 

With all the pressure of school work, puberty, social life and other commitments playing their part, it's understandable that your child might sometimes feel a little overwhelmed by their homework. 

Key points: 

  • Give children a chance to talk about their schoolwork - when you ask them about your day, check in to see what they've been learning
  • It might become frustrating if you are trying to teach your child something and they do not seem to be grasping the concept but remember losing your patience will knock their self-esteem
  • The amount of homework gradually increases as your child goes through school. Help your child adapt by helping them plan their homework for the first few weeks using a homework diary
child doing homework

There are many ways to help ease some of this by supporting and guiding them - they might not tell you they want help, but by showing your support your child will pick up on your positive attitude and this can help encourage them to do the same when it comes to their education.

The benefits of helping your child are endless. First and foremost, you will find that you end up spending more quality time with them by listening and talking, and you will also be able to gauge a sense of what their strengths and weaknesses are.

Supporting your child with their homework

Give children a chance to talk about their schoolwork - 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 understand 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.

Help keep a routine for your child when it comes to homework. You might find your child wants to complete their homework as soon as they come home from school, or they might want to relax and then start working later in the evening. Let your child decide when they want to do their homework but try and keep a regular time.

Praise and encourage your child to help boost their confidence. Try to pick up on how they have completed certain tasks for example, "I like the way you worked that out…" as opposed to "Well done".

Creating the right environment for 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.

Help from the school

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 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.

Our top tips for homework

  • Ask your child to give you a bit of background on the homework and why they have been set the piece
  • Refrain from completing your child's homework for them. Homework is set to help teachers understand how much your child has understood about the subject and what they can complete independently
  • Stay calm. It might become frustrating if you are trying to teach your child something and they do not seem to be grasping the concept but remember losing your patience will knock their self-esteem and could also prevent them coming to you for help in the future
  • Allow yourself enough time to help your child with their homework
  • Use the library. Staff at your local library will be able to help your child find the info he/she needs and develop their research skills
  • Many schools offer after-school homework clubs. These are a great way of getting the homework out of the way and getting help and advice on the best way to tackle it
  • Encourage your child by offering a small reward that they can choose at the end of the week if all their set homework is done
  • The amount of homework gradually increases as your child goes through school. Help your child adapt by helping them plan their homework for the first few weeks using a homework diary
  • Don't get stressed out by homework - if you are, your child will be too. Remember to talk to the school if you feel your child has too much homework, or it's not clear, or is taking them too long. Asking for feedback on how they feel your child is doing is also helpful

Further resources 

It may help to chat to other parents on our forums to find out how they are dealing with this issue within their family life. You can also talk to us online via our live chat service, email us at askus@familylives.org.uk or call us on our helpline on 0808 800 2222 to speak to trained family support worker. 

Find out how to create a good learning environment for homework

This page was updated on October 2021

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