The homework agenda
I remember when my daughter first started school; I was so excited and proud. Little did I know that school comes with parties, costumes, clubs, assemblies and mega homework. At first, I did a quick mental check of my younger days and remembered that homework has always played a key role in my learning but how important was it? I also don’t recall the homework being this much or this rich. Looking round my house, I have all manner of books, pencils, crayons, coloring pens, glitter, glue, and scissor etc, you name it. At times I feel I could open a mini school myself at this rate. One day, I came across a parent who said, ‘Can you believe this; we got a homework timetable,’ ‘I am not a teacher and in my busy life, how am I expected to do this.’ I thought carefully and realized that, it’s not only the parents; in fact, some children find it difficult as well. You hear stories of children missing homework, from dogs eating homework, to homework mysteriously disappearing from their bags not to mention those that hide them purposely to get more play time at home. So, the question now is, is it worth all the trouble, absolutely YES, YES and YES!! To begin with, some studies have shown that there are several benefits to the child including extending their learning, thinking and understanding, developing independence; improve organizational skills, mental discipline and an opportunity to responsibly reflect on their general learning. In fact some statistics have shown that children, who do homework, get better grades and achieve more as they progress to secondary school. Moreover, as you child moves to a higher class, the homework becomes even more important, therefore you will be doing yourself and your child a favour by supporting them earlier on to build a habit of producing accurate and completed homework. There are however, some studies that have indicated that there isn’t enough evidence to support that homework provides non-academic benefits, stipulating that more research should be carried out for clarity. As a parent there is no doubt that homework helps you understand what your child is learning, their learning style and challenges not to mention the encouragement you will be giving your child by showing support. Finally, as you participate, you also learn one or two things on the long run and strengthen the bond between your child and yourself. I will like to leave you with four tips today in your journey to helping your child through homework.
Tip 1: Allocate time for homework probably in a quiet place and involve your child in scheduling homework time. You could also use that time as an opportunity to catch up on your reading or quiet work to set a good example for your child.
Tip 2: Give your child the opportunity to access dictionaries, encyclopedias, books, CD Roms and guided internet access to help them with their homework.
Tip 3: Do not panic if the homework is not clear to your child, break the task down in little parts for your child and work it out one step at a time. Motivate your child as they work through their task and praise their effort. If there are any problems, the school teacher can provide more information. Also remember that each child has their learning pace and style.
Tip 4: Keep a basket or an organizer for all your homework resources and help your child to keep their homework folder neatly organized.