Because of the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 was a difficult year all across the globe, but perhaps in no setting were those difficulties more magnified than at home, when parents were trying to help their children understand and adapt to remote learning and how they could get their homework done and sent to school.The classrooms’ supervised setting vanished during the pandemic in many countries, and parents were forced to guide children through lessons while sitting at, perhaps, the dining room table after supper. It wasn’t ideal for anyone, as educators, children and parents quickly discovered.Now, thanks to public health measures like social distancing and mask-wearing, along with the roll-out of vaccines right around the world, kids are gradually going back to school for their in-person classes, and just about everyone has breathed a huge, collective sigh of relief that, for the most part, things are getting back to some kind of normal.That means that your children are, once again, bringing home homework, and they’ve got to get it done and submitted often by the following day or week.They may not be seeing their teachers online anymore, but they still have to complete assignments outside of a school setting. And that means that the dining room table might still be the spot they land in order to get that work done in the evening. Is that ideal? How can you help? What’s the best strategy for seeing to it that your children succeed, particularly after such a tough year in 2020?
We’ve got some suggestions for you, ideas that can help your children successfully complete their homework with as little aggravation – from them and you! – as possible. Try a few (or all), and you’ll see your child is calmer, more efficient at homework, and just generally less stressed out about school. And that’s a good thing, right?
1) Give Them An Area That’s All Their Own When It’s Homework Time
Your child (or teen) needs to be able to completely focus on the tasks at hand. That means no television blaring in the corner that pulls away their attention and distracts them.If you can’t set them up in their own study or den, design a corner in their bedroom that has a desk, good lighting, and a shelf for books. While they are working, be sure their devices are only used for research, i.e., an English composition that requires cited sources is a fine use of the Internet, but using their phone to stream music while they’re studying is a big no-no. Whether they agree or not, whether they moan or not, you’ve got to be strict on this point. Remind them that the sooner they focus, the sooner they’ll finish – that helps motivate them!
2) Talk To Their Teachers If There Are Problems or Concerns
Does it seem that your child is struggling to understand an assignment or complete it? Naturally, you don’t want to do the work for them, but it’s vital that you understand the task and what is expected of your child.If they can’t explain it to you, chances are they don’t understand it themselves, and that’s when it is time for a word with their teacher. Make it clear that you are not interfering with the teacher’s lessons or expectations; simply explain that your child is having a difficult time and go from there.
3) Ensure They Have All the Resources They Need
For a child to become independent, original thinkers, they need access to more resources than just the Internet. They need books!Getting them into the habit of reading early on in life means they are more likely to remain to be readers later on when they need to do research (for example) for a term paper during senior high school or college.Good study habits developed early become lifelong, making it easier for them to succeed at education no matter how many years they spend at university.
4) Monitor Them From a Distance and Motivate Them at Every Opportunity
Children hate feeling that their parents are hovering over them at homework time, but there are moments when they genuinely need some help.Encourage them to ask when those moments arise, and if you (or your partner) can’t help, turn to a source who can. Simply asking the teacher for clarification on an assignment is often enough. But if your child needs more help in one or more subjects, consider hiring a tutor one or two days a week. Tutors are worth every penny of their fee, and it’s an investment in your child’s scholastic future.
5) Develop a Schedule, And Has Your Child Stick To It
Some kids, particularly teenagers, take a casual approach to homework, squeezing in an hour of it before supper or after a sports practice.That is not the ideal way for them to get the work done consistently. Instead, help them decide when they are at their “attentive best” for homework: right after school, before dinner? After they’ve had an after-school snack?Or later in the evening, after dinner but before going to a movie with friends? Design this schedule with their input, and insist that they stick to it.Otherwise, assignments will pile up, and before they know it (and you!), they’ll be working all day Sunday just to get the homework finished. And chances are it won’t be of a quality that earns high grades because it’s been rushed and maybe sloppy!
6) Explain How HomeWork Applies To Life Lessons
Doing homework is a chore to many kids, particularly when they become teenagers and would rather be out with their friends or on their social media accounts.You might hear something like this: “why do I need to learn spelling when my computer has a spellcheck function?”Explain that spellcheck and grammar check on computers only gets them so far and that knowing these skills is vital for their future careers.Give them an example of that importance in concrete, simple terms they’ll understand. For example: when they fill out their first job application, chances are they won’t do it with a laptop handy, and they’ll have to rely on their own skills to do a good job.Kids take to homework better if and when they understand how it applies to “real life.”
7) Resist The Urge To Do It For Them.
Every parent in the world has the impulse to check their children’s homework and correct mistakes they might find there. Big mistake!Going through a document and helping them understand where errors are is one thing. Fixing those errors and rewriting the document, or writing down the correct solutions for math homework, just so the child gets a terrific grade, is another thing entirely!Allowing your son or daughter to earn an “honest B” rather than an “assisted A” sets a far better example for them, and they will be truly proud of the work if they’ve done it on their own. Children may not be out of the nest while they’re in school, but the more you foster independent thinking and work, the better off they will be in school and life. That even means allowing them to fail once in a while if they must!Making mistakes and failing can be vital tools for learning something thoroughly, though admittedly, it can be hard on everyone. But if your child fails an assignment once, chances are they will not want to repeat the experience and will try harder next time. And that, in itself, is a valuable lesson.
Last but not least
Doing homework is an important part of your child’s educational development, and while you should keep an “arm’s length” attitude to it, it’s important that you set them up to succeed. Make sure their environment is conducive to learning. Help them if they ask for it, but don’t solve problems for them – demonstrate how they can solve them instead. If you are truly worried about an assignment, contact the teacher and get it sorted out.Give your child the resources they need, and then let them get to it. And don’t hover! Once all the elements are in place – peace and quiet, good lighting, a desk, and no distractions – your child has all the tools at their fingertips to do well on homework. Just stand back and let them get on with it!