Like an actor rehearsing her lines or a batter working on his swing, each learner will have some homework to practice skills learned here at school. Homework can bring challenges (especially in math), but here are some solutions to common concerns your child might face:
Getting Started: When you finally get everyone home and the evening rush begins for supper, homework, chores, practice sessions, and more, establish the ground rules for completing homework. You may need to try various methods like setting a timer for 20 minutes of “down time” before starting on homework. Some children like to get home and just get it done in order to move on to other activities. Try different strategies and keep notes with your child on works most effectively. Working together you’ll know what’s best in your family situation.
Staying Motivated: Does your child feel restless when he’s doing homework? Suggest movement first and short breaks to keep the brain stimulated. For example, he might finish his vocabulary assignment at the kitchen table (or other regular homework spot), and then read his science notes on the porch. A planned break for a snack or short walk, can also give him a second wind. “Chunking” study time into smaller blocks makes everything more manageable for everyone. Encourage your child to work on more difficult tasks at the beginning of homework time.
Solving Problems: Help your child make a list of strategies she can use when she gets stuck. For a math assignment, she might try tools like a number line or her math journal with her class notes. When she’s reading, she could look up words in the dictionary or reread the paragraph for clarification. Many of our teachers use Edmodo online to assist with homework assignments; it’s easy for the student to ask the question and get several responses for assistance that evening online.
While I never advocate for lots of homework (learners have been working all day at their “school job” after all), I do believe in positive practice on occasion. Help make homework rewarding by participating in it with your child. Acting out a reading passage, drawing a math problem, or creating a game out of an assignment can turn into some quick family fun. Have your child teach you the concept; we know it well when we can teach it to others! If you have concerns about homework, please visit with your child’s teacher. Like any skill in life, studying and homework practice must be taught; you are your child’s first and most important teacher too! 🙂