How to help with homework

There are many different opinions about homework. At St Edmund Campion Catholic Primary School we believe in regular homework to reinforce the concepts learnt within the classroom and as an opportunity for children to develop an independent approach to learning.  Your children’s attitude to their homework depends on you. If you are interested and want to get involved then they will adopt your enthusiasm. Educational research shows that the children with parents who show an interest in their learning are more likely to achieved A and A* grades at GCSE.

So how can you make that difference and not fall out? Read on…

  1. Homework Diary – check it daily and remember to sign it once a week. Children are very crafty about saying they haven’t got any homework when the diary will prove they have!
  2. Make it fun! – All tasks can be fun if you adopt a positive attitude. Be interested in the subject and perhaps dredge up some of your school memories to help them achieve, or know where to research. Sometimes a history topic could be the reason for a family day out. It is great to have your child doing the guided tour of a place of interest and helps to consolidate their knowledge.
  3. Research– Often your child will be asked to research a particular question or subject; perhaps in RE, science, history or geography. Sometimes the research question will be on a theme chosen by your child – they are excited about it and you need to match their enthusiasm. Discuss the subject with your child and do research from a number of sources. Use the internet by all means but please DO NOT allow your child to copy and paste large chunks of information. We can tell it is not written in your child’s own words. Don’t be afraid to research and use printed documents and illustrations to help your child hand write their own work. For a really great performance put in a bibliography of sites and books used even if it is only one.
  4. Making-Your child may be asked to make something for class. This is not your homework – it is your child’s! Make sure your child has actually been involved in the making and can show their skills even if you have helped them.  Better to have an honest team effort that your child can be proud of.
  5. Reading – Although there is a separate guide for reading make sure that it is always fun. Any text can be read aloud; look at TV guides, recipes, instructions, newspaper articles, film reviews – ask your child to read it to you or read it WITH your child.  Preparing dinner is a great time for reading aloud – it helps the potatoes peel more quickly – honestly!
  6. Maths  - This can be a tough one. Get involved by making sure your child understands the task and take time to check or proof-read homework. Staff are always pleased to read comments from parents on the amount of homework completed independently.  Better to say that your child did half and needed help on particular questions. Parents often say ‘my child found this easy’ – but did they find it easy because you were working with them?  As they improve try and see what they can do independently and let us know where the trouble spots are. Life skills like time and measurement can easily be incorporated into daily life if you let your child help. So whilst we all need time to relax and unwind after a busy day there are many activities that could still help and some are set out below.  Remember that none of these are meant to be hard but just a shift in thinking so as to help your child for the future.
  •  Multiplication tables competitions on long journeys perhaps a best-of-10 competition with other family members. How many questions before the next junction if you are on a long journey.  Learn tables like a poem – or even set them to a favourite song!
  • Time tables – read train or bus time tables, the tide tables. Get your child to tell you – you can check it out later.
  • Money – counting out the money to pay in shops and for meals – avoid the plastic and get your children to calculate the correct amount and the change required. Grow into checking the bill in the restaurant and then work out the tip!
  • Time – keep practising both analogue and digital time – so your children can work out how many minutes until an event or how long since an event. How long has a journey taken?
  • Cooking – weigh out the ingredients. Weigh the dog!
  • Brochures on places to visit – ensuring that you share the opening times, key features, location of parking, WCs and prices – how much will it cost for all the family to go in?
  • Guides – written instructions for anything and anywhere.
  • Information Sites/signs especially those related to tourist venues which are often colourful and get your child to share the local information.

Have fun – your child will not be a child for long so enjoy all the time you can spend with them. Don’t do everything at once – test a few ideas and eventually you’ll come up with your own. Different children will need different encouragement (try division with Smarties) it might make all the difference. Make even homework time count as part of a wonderful childhood.

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