Let’s face it, school these days is a lot harder than when you were a kid, and your children are expected to do more in terms of their academic work. We’ve got some simple ways to make homework less of a chore and more of an opportunity to spend some quality time with your children.
1. Schedule playtime. Children have a lot of energy, and after a day spent sitting still at school, they need some time to just be kids and play. Whether it’s a soccer game in the local park or visiting a friend down the road, make sure your child has time to have some fun. This shouldn’t involve screen time as your child won’t burn off energy sitting in front of the TV, and it’s very hard to wrestle the remote away from them when it’s time for homework.
2. Set aside family homework time. Even if you don’t need to be too hands-on with your kids’ homework, lead by example when the time comes for them to sit down. You can do this by having your own reading at hand. It can be a book, magazine, or newspaper; or you can catch up on some admin. Also, try and set aside a specific chunk of time every day for homework, and stick to it so that it becomes a family habit.
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4. Create a study-friendly environment. Find one spot for your child to do homework from every day, and keep it as neat and clutter-free as possible. Try and have proper seats such as chairs with upright backrests that are high enough to allow for easy reading and writing. The ideal scenario is a quiet room away from distractions by the rest of the family. If home is totally out of the question, a local library or a relative’s home may be a better option.
5. Talk to their teacher. Keep the lines of communication open. Attend parent-teacher events, ask how you can continue the school day’s learning at home and raise any difficulties or challenges you might have. Arrange a way to communicate – place notes in their school bag or text messages if possible – if you can’t see your child’s teacher face to face often enough. If your child is struggling with a particular subject, there’s a high chance other learners are too; so talk to their teacher about the possibility of them organising extra homework classes at the school at least once a week.
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6. Set up a support group. Canvas other parents at the school and see if you can set up a homework support group where the children can help each other. This could be particularly useful in the run-up to exams where children could go over past papers together. You could also set up a homework support WhatsApp group for the parents or kids to exchange tips and advice.