At the beginning of a brand new school year, it’s a good idea to set aside some time to think about how homework will be tackled. Homework can be a source of anxiety for many of our kids. it can be perceived as boring and pointless. It can also cut into valuable free time after school, so no wonder the mere mention of homework can be a source of angst for both child and parent alike. Homework can be a POSITIVE EXPERIENCE however, with a bit of advance prep.
Here’s a few small ways you can prepare for a year of fuss free (or at least tolerable!) homework:
1. Set a realistic and age appropriate homework schedule. For young kids, aim for 10 minutes per day of good quality work rather than pushing for 30 minutes of laboured work. Kids have short attention spans in the early years.
Also, pick your timing. Just before bed is unlikely to be the time your child will be at their best.
2. Have the right tools for the job. Have a dedicated pencil case with everything you need so you are ready to go. This pencil case is for homework only and can be filled with the fun, sparkly stationery that is used only for special occasions, like homework.
3. Have a clear, dedicated workspace. This can be the table, a desk or kitchen bench. A space should be clear at all times, so that when it’s homework time there are no excuses for delaying getting started.
4. Make sure your child can sit comfortably. Check your child can reach the floor or a footrest. Swinging feet are distracting and make for an ineffective seated posture. Your child’s ability to concentrate will increase if they are seated comfortably.
5. Be prepared to offer gentle praise and encouragement, not pressure. Any effort should be acknowledged. Bribing, threatening and demanding work be done will only fuel resentment.
7. Delegate subject areas to parents depending on strengths. Maths not your strong point? Handover aspects of homework supervision to your other half if they have an aptitude for a subject area you're not great at. Forget about pride. Work out how each parent can best support their child's learning. It is both parents’ job to support their child’s educational development.
8. Have a dedicated in-tray for new work. Keep homework in a prominent place so that you are reminded to do a bit each day. Include homework in YOUR schedule and add it to your diary to give it significance.
9. Be prepared to talk to the teacher. If you are concerned about the type or amount of homework your child is receiving, talk to their teacher. They might have some tips or make changes based on the collective feedback of the group. Also be prepared to say no to homework if your child’s homework load is simply too much for them.
If your child is resistant to homework ongoing, consider consulting with an occupational therapist. We can assist with determining the reason for homework refusal, such as biomechanical challenges (poor pencil grasp, poor posture), poor understanding of concepts, reduced attention/ concentration, fatigue, anxiety and more. Call us today on 3398 9367 to discuss further.