Are you having trouble getting your child to do their homework?
It seems that no matter what country you live in or how much you pay for your child’s education, if they are one of those children that simply doesn’t like homework, it can feel like an uphill battle to get them to sit down and get their homework done.
While many schools today are starting to introduce the idea that it isn’t necessary for children do homework every night, they still do expect a certain amount of work to be done – whether it be projects that need to be completed within a set time, schoolwork that wasn’t completed during the day or just learning for a test, at some point your kids are going to have to sit down and do their homework.
Unfortunately, especially since the beginning of the COVID pandemic, there are a growing number of children slipping through the cracks. They are able to bluff their way through primary school and often scrape through by doing the minimum amount of work possible. The problem arises when they either hit a higher level of education e.g. high school or suddenly come across a teacher or new school where their tricks of the past just won’t work. And this is where it starts to get hard. I’m sure there are a lot of parents out there who get to the point where they’ve tried everything: they’ve yelled, cajoled and bribed but each and every night when it comes time for homework you just know it’s not going to be easy.
If you have a child with a learning disability like dyslexia or ADHD, this constant struggle will more often than not end in tears of frustration. Your child could become increasingly distressed over not knowing what they are supposed to do or not being able to understand what the teacher is asking them to do. Many children either “forget” to bring their work home, bring the wrong book or tell their parents they finished their work at school and then hope they can come up with a good excuse for their teacher!
If any of this sounds like the nightly ritual in your home, perhaps some of these little tips could help you.
If your child struggles with reading, doesn’t like to read or has problems processing what they’ve read, try reading to them yourself. After each page or chapter ask them to summarize what you have read so far to see if they are following along well.
Audio books are also great especially if you can match the audio book with the suggested material from class. Your child can listen and, where possible, read along with the story taking notes of anything that is interesting or confusing.
You could also ask them to pick one character in the story and write about them. Your child could pretend to be that character and you could interview them asking questions like what they think the character would do or say in certain situations.
When it comes to things like homework help for math and science, where possible, I’ve found the hands on approach seems to give me the best results. Often you can teach your child math without even knowing it! Things like playing scrabble (also helps with reading) get them to keep track of the scores. Let them help you with the cooking: simple little things like I have five cups of sugar here but I only need three how many should I put away? Take it a step further and find out what happens when you mix two of your cooking substances together. When you go shopping ask them to help keep track of your bill or how much you need of a certain product. The more you look around the more you’ll realize just how often you use math and science in your day to day life.
One of the biggest problems that parents come across when their children reach a higher level of education is that often, by the time they’ve come home from school, they’ve forgotten what they learnt in the first lesson, or what it is they needed to bring home to study (this could stem from dyslexia or even short term memory problems). Get a special book and ask your child to take notes, even if each note is just a short, quick scribble. This will help them to remember what they need to bring home that night to ensure they can complete the assignment. Where possible get into the habit of checking they have all they need before you leave the school, though more importantly get your child into the habit of checking their own written notes to make sure they have packed all they need.
If your child has a set assignment/project that they have to complete within a certain amount of time, help them to lay out each step they need to do and then get them to set time aside each night (or every other night) to do a little of it. Once you can convince your child that it really is easier to do five minutes now rather than three hours the night before the product is due you’ll go a long way toward showing your child that they do have the ability to keep up with the others in their class. Of course the joy on their face when they hand in a completed project on time – if not early, will not only make your day complete, it’ll also help to show them that with just a little time and effort school and homework really isn’t that bad.
And don’t forget to let your child’s teacher(s) them know if your child is struggling with certain things. More often than not the teacher will be happy to assist you in any way possible. And remember to always praise your child for achieving rather than punishing them for failing. Each positive step they take will not only help improve their attitude and self confidence when doing homework, it will also bring a little more peace to your home every night when homework time arrives.
Do you have any suggestions or ideas that have made homework time easier in your home?