Parenting with Joanne
Having been a teacher for almost seven years now, I have very often come across parents struggle with this concept of homework, sometimes more than children do so themselves. Their struggle usually involves decisions regarding how much they should help, should they help at all, and not knowing about homework in some rare cases. For certain other parents, homework time becomes a battle between child and parent about simply getting the job done.
Here are a few guidelines for the purpose of making this interaction between child and parent easier.
- Be involved always
This may seem to be an unreasonable request to make of parents, nevertheless, it is a much needed one. Children need to know that you care about their learning every single day, not only when homework is given or when exams draw near. When chats about daily learning become a part of your daily routine, perhaps over the dinner table, children gain confidence in your commitment toward their learning and this confidence helps them come to you for support with their homework assignments.
- Help them with schedules
In an event when homework has been given with equal or close to equal measures for individual subjects, the thought of getting it done can be fairly overwhelming for children. At times like these, the primary assistance you need to provide your child, is to help make schedules for homework assignments.
For instance, if your child has been given one homework assignment each for English, Math, Geography and Science for the holiday month, help him allocate his time well by creating a flexible yet dependable schedule, allowing room for relaxation and fun activities. This technique not only helps your child with the homework itself but also with learning to organize and manage time in an effective manner.
- Choose to monitor, not dominate
Helping your child with homework, does not mean that you ‘do it for him’ or ‘get him to do it your way’. Instead, it’s about helping your child understand what needs to get done (if needed) and discussing ideas on how to get them done. Leaving that final decision to them and giving them the space to do it on their own, while watching the progress of their work with care, is the best support you can give your child.
This type of support gives the child the confidence that they can perform independently, while still assuring them of your parental concern toward their learning process.
- Encourage further learning
This is a piece of advice that I often give parents to make learning through homework, a fun experience for the child. If your child is learning about the digestive system for Biology in school, and has been given a piece of homework asking him to name the parts and describe the functions of the individual parts that make up the digestive system, I would say, do not stop there. Go a step further and watch a documentary about the digestive system, perhaps on the latest research involving digestion.
The learning that happens as a result of this type of exploring ensures a firm and deeper understanding of the topic for your child.
- Encourage feedback
Always remember to ask your child about homework assignments that have been submitted. Feedback from the class and subject facilitators and peers, are an important part of the learning process. Discussing this feedback with your child, not only helps your child know that you care about the end result, but can also help him see ways to do better the next time if the need arises.
Homework, need not be a chore! It can be made fun and interesting. And it is up to you as a parent to ensure that, it happens and that your child’s learning is maximized.
Joanne Sathyadass has a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Journalism, Psychology and English Literature from the University of Bangalore now serving as a Special Needs Educator
For any queries please email Joanne on firstname.lastname@example.org