Tips to Make Homework Less Stressful
Homework: that dark cloud that hangs over many homes.
An age old question: Homework – YES or NO?
I’m a parent and a teacher who believes that homework is important and that it does matter and make a difference. Why then the debate? And why has it become such an issue of late?
Have those against the idea of homework taken the time to ask why have homework in the first place? Are they against homework for the right reasons or has homework become a burden and a chore? Is it interfering with our lifestyles? Has homework changed to such a degree or has society and its’ demands put different pressures on us as adults and parents, allowing us less time to ourselves?
Change is inevitable but with change one can’t let go of what we are ultimately responsible for. Homework is part of being a parent and yes, it ultimately requires sacrifices.
Our attitude towards homework plays a huge part in how our children welcome and perceive it. If it’s seen as a chore you are going to be greeted by opposition, but if your child understands, from a young age, the advantages of homework, half the battle is won.
So what is the point of homework? Well fundamentally it bridges school and home and serves as a window through which you can observe.
Homework has numerous benefits – but it should be appropriate and beneficial and given in moderation.
How Homework Benefits Your Child
- Homework reinforces through practice and participation and has been proven to improve scholastic achievement.
- It is also a time to master the basic academic skills e.g. reading, writing, spelling, Maths.
Your child learns both responsibility and how to manage time.
- It is an opportunity for parents to be aware of what their child is learning and to spend positive time with their child enhancing family relationships and developing trust.
- It is a time to understand and review work learnt in class, therefore reinforcing skills and concepts that have been taught.
- It teaches your child to work independently.
- It helps your child to use resources e.g. libraries, the computer, etc. and to seek advice when needed.
- Your child will learn how to prioritize by planning and developing organisational skills.
- Homework encourages problem solving and improves thinking and memory.
Why Should Parents Play an Active Role?
- It helps to evaluate your child’s progress.
- It gives you the chance to observe e.g. this is the perfect opportunity to pick up on any difficulties your child may have or specific talents.
- Showing an interest will also build trust and the freedom for your child to ask for advice.
- Often parental guidance is needed by assisting with an explanation, working through a method, helping to understand a concept, etc.
- Checking to see if your child’s homework is complete and done effectively is also a vital part of the process of doing homework.
- With older children there may be the need to edit or offer an opinion, “plant a seed of thought”
It is important to remember that being involved with homework is vital from the very beginning. Even if it only means showing an interest at night if your child is at an aftercare, has an au pair or a childminder, but I advise that you take some time (preferably a routine, scheduled time) over the weekend to do homework. If left too late, during your child’s schooling and you offer to help your child e.g. during high school, they will think that you are just interfering as you haven’t shown an interest before.
The need and how a parent assists with homework will change and develop over time BUT at no time should a parent do their child’s homework for them. This defeats the purpose of homework and benefits no-one. You are there to guide, nurture and encourage.
Like with studying for exams, certain criteria should be put into place to insure that homework is taken seriously.
Important Homework Criteria:
- A suitable homework area/space should be permanently available.
- TV viewing should be monitored.
- There should be a specific homework time – routine is vital.
- A homework schedule should be developed and clearly visible.
If the homework given is appropriate and given for the correct reasons it can only be beneficial.
If, however, you are concerned about the volume or content, speak to the teacher. Remember homework is an intersection between home and school and by communicating effectively all parties will benefit.
“SUCCESS is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out”. R. Collier
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