Coping with Homework is a mission! Gone are the days that your child will come home with homework that you actually understand. The subjects have changed; the volume has doubled and your child is required to do a lot more on their own. This translates into a lot more help from you; this could be a hard thing to deal with. Parking your child at their desk and kicking back with a magazine is simply not an option!
You will be presented with spelling to memorise; times tables to say; reading to do; worksheets to fill in, not to mention the many projects that will be presented at least 2 or 3 times a term. As a mom you might be tempted to take over half the work and just read out the answers, or just sign the reading book instead of actually letting your little one read aloud to you. This is not necessary, there are lots of ways to get around your busy schedule and the homework dilemma.
It’s All About Balance
- Relax: If you are frazzled and hysterical by the time you gets to homework your child will be too. It will also make your child feel that homework is a negative thing. Anything to do with learning must be seen positively otherwise you might have a school hater on your hands, which is not healthy for you or them.
- Decide What’s Good Enough: What’s good enough for you should be good enough for your child. Do not set your expectations too high, remember that a pass rate at most schools is 40% so if you set their best at 60% your child should be able to achieve this. You want to teach them to work hard and enjoy the feeling of achievement but you don’t want them to burn out in grade 3. Tell them that you don’t need them to get 80% in every subject because you will be just as proud if you know that they have done their best. That is all you can ever ask of them.
- Get Some Perspective; It’s just homework, if you find your child is putting too much pressure on themselves over an exam or project teach them to put things into perspective. Remind them that although you want them to pass the exam or project you do not expect them to make themselves crazy achieving top marks. Remind them that in the grand scheme of school one exam or project does not make that much difference.
- Get Imaginative: Use your imagination and make homework fun. Teach your child to use colour while they’re studying and to use pictures and rhymes to help them remember facts and figures. Also try to include the homework in your every day life. For example; if your child is learning about the food groups take them with you to the super market and ask them to name the food group of each item you put in your trolley belongs to and its benefits. It is also a good idea to get your child to read street names and signs, to tell you how things on TV or around you relate to what they are learning at school and so on. This will encourage your child to learn and have fun while doing so.
- Have A Reasonable Schedule: Even though you lead a hectic lifestyle rushing between school and extra-murals or holding down a job, it is important that your child has a realistic schedule. Make time every day for them to be a child! Give them a half an hour after school each day to eat a healthy lunch and relax. Then set down to homework, give this an hour at most although the school will give you guidelines on how much of each day should be spent on homework. Do not allow for more than the recommended time, your child must have a life other than school. Once they have finished their homework give them at least 40 minutes in the garden or in their bedroom doing child like things that don’t involve the TV or computer. After that it is up to you and your family routine what happens. If your child does extra-murals allow for time in between, this which could replace their ‘free time’ because they will be doing something that they enjoy.
- Teach Your Child To Relax: Teach your child to spend some time each day relaxing. Teach him/her some relaxation methods like deep breathing or visualisation in order to relax when they are feeling stressed about their school work.
- Make Time: There is time in most days where 2 things can be done at once. On those busy days where you and your child have no time to get to homework try to fit things like reading and repeating of timetables while you are cooking or waiting for a sibling to finish school. You might feel guilty about this but there is no need to. As long as this is not a regular occurrence and most days have a specific ‘homework time’ set aside. Your child could also use free time at school in order to get started with homework that they can do on their own, although this must not be done during regular class time, only if your child has a free period or time during break.
Homework is an inconvenience for parents, especially as school progresses and the workload increases. You will be doing yourself a favour if you accept that homework is going to be a daily part of your life and learn to see it as quality time spent with your child as an individual. Never ever lose your temper if your child is struggling with something because this will do more harm than good and could put them off the subject that they are dealing with at the time. Finally, remember that your child will eventually be able to do their homework by themselves, right about the same time that you realise why you dropped maths.