More than 60 research studies conducted in the last 20 years show that kids are more successful at school if they do homework. But helping your child with homework isn’t always easy!
Too much homework?
A review published in the journal Review of Educational Research showed that overloading children with homework is not necessarily good for their grades. “Kids burn out,” says Dr Cooper, professor of psychology. “All kids should be doing homework, but the amount and type should vary according to their developmental level and home circumstances. Homework for young students should be short [and] lead to success without much struggle.”
Should I help my child with their homework?
As a parent, your input is vital to help your child develop coping and organisational skills. But doing your child’s homework for them can be counterproductive, reinforcing laziness or an “I can’t do it” attitude. Instead, writes Jimmie, a mother and teacher, strike a balance by providing your child with the support they need without doing their homework for them.
- Choose a suitable environment. “Doing homework away from where I do recreation helps me focus,” says high school student Camille. A suitable homework area is free from clutter, noise, and distractions.
- Encourage your child to have a go, then ask for help after making a genuine effort. “Whenever I get stuck,” says Camille, “I go though my school notes first – sometimes I can work it out on my own. When that happens, I understand the work much better. But when this doesn’t work, I ask my parents for help.”
- Read the question or assignment out loud. Children who have difficulty picking out main ideas may benefit from you stressing the key words in the question.
- Re-word or break down a difficult question, without giving away the answer. This will help your child understand what they need to do. Help them focus on learning the skill, rather than just on the answer they need to give.
- Wait. Give your child time and don’t interrupt them while they’re thinking, even if you can see they’ve made an error. They might find that error without your input.
- Don’t hover. Provide help when your child needs it, and encourage them to ask you for it.
- Praise your child. Praise good effort rather than just correct answers.
Making learning more enjoyable
Students who spend excessive time and effort to maintain their grades may have underlying learning deficits. They may in fact be struggling with various learning challenges such as weakness in memory function, inability to process large volumes of information, vocabulary deficits and poor abilities in written expression. The Fast ForWord learning program was designed by neuroscientists to alleviate learning frustration and improve auditory processing, working memory, attention, reading and other important learning skills. The overall goal is to make learning easier and more enjoyable for students so that they actively seek rather than avoid learning activities and feel a sense of success in themselves as a learner.