Home is the Key to Homework
(August 21, 2013 — Toronto, Ont.) — After a long summer, it can be tough for kids to get their focus back on school and homework. But homework is a key part of education and it’s important that kids not only complete it, but also understand what they’ve learned.
Studies show that children's achievements in school improve with increased parent involvement in their education. So get involved in your kids’ homework – you might even learn something new too!
ABC Life Literacy Canada offers 10 tips on how to make homework a part of your family’s daily routine. Establishing good homework habits for younger children helps them develop effective study skills for high school and beyond.
- Have a specific – and limited – time each day for homework. An hour should be enough for younger children. Early in the evening is best, so that when homework is done there is still time for play. Starting later means rushing to get finished before bedtime, when kids may become too tired to concentrate.
- Have a regular place for homework. For older kids somewhere “quiet” might be best, but younger kids often do better in a common area like the kitchen or at the dining room table, with an adult nearby.
- Limit distractions and temptation. Turn off the TV, cell phones and other electronics during homework hour – for the whole family.
- Parents can do their own routine tasks during homework hour, but should be readily available to help, encourage, and answer questions. But don’t do their homework for them!
- Start with the hardest subject first, since it will probably take the most time and effort.
- Kids can become overwhelmed with big assignments or projects. Parents can help them break the project down into smaller steps.
- When kids resist or delay doing homework, parents can help motivate them by using positive language (“When you finish your homework, you’ll be able to …”) instead of negative language (“If you don’t finish your homework, you won’t be able to …”).
- Kids have different learning styles, and parents can help them develop effective methods for doing their homework. However, if homework is a constant struggle, talk to the teacher.
- Show kids how the skills they are learning relate to real life. For example, if a child is learning math, collect receipts from the supermarket and calculate the weekly or monthly cost of your groceries.
- Don’t limit family learning to homework hour. Make learning a part of daily life by embracing everyday learning opportunities.