Homework is generally a painful process that is rarely met with excitement and anticipation. In fact, Cindy Glass, Co-Founder of Step Up Education Centres, the after-school remediation and tutoring franchise says, “In all my years teaching, I have yet to meet a parent or learner who cannot wait to do extra school work in the afternoons!”
Whilst countries like Japan, the Czech Republic and Denmark assign little to no homework, South Africa doesn’t follow the same trend. “For us, homework is unavoidable, it is simply a part of our schooling system, whether we like it or not,” says Cindy.
With that in mind, Cindy says that we need to not only find a way to help our children complete their homework tasks, but help them to enjoy doing it as well! She offers the following handy homework tips:
Create a fun, practical workspace
It is important to assign one specific area in the house to do all school tasks. By doing this you will train your brain to automatically kick into work-mode when you sit down.
- Have a desk and comfortable chair
- Have all the necessary stationary
- Make the space beautiful – display art or any awards/reward charts to keep your child motivated
- Keep it neat
Switch off all distractions for the duration of the homework time
Cell phones, TV, games and sometimes even music can be a distractor for both parents and learners. As a result, you both need to switch off (or place on silent) all digital devices.
- If you are a learner, let your friends know you will be unavailable for that period
- If you are a parent, switch your phone on silent as cell phone noises can be very distracting, prolonging the homework experience
Be clear on what needs to be done
By knowing exactly what needs to be done and by when, you will find it easier to complete the task.
- Use a whiteboard to list the tasks that need to be completed on that day
- Start with the easy tasks first as this will give your child an immediate sense of achievement
- For older learners who have projects or longer assignments, decide which part of each will be completed on that day, in addition to daily homework
- Tick off each task as you complete it
Get extra help if you are stuck!
- For parents, ‘Google’ will tame many-a-challenge. Phone a friend if you need to. Whatever you do – do NOT behave negatively – explain to your child that there is a solution to every problem and you can work together to find it!
- If your child is struggling consistently, seek professional help from an after-school remediation centre.
- For older learners, make sure that they listen carefully in class. They need to ask their teacher if they are unsure of what is required.
Remember, your child is not always going to feel okay about doing homework. Whenever this happens, Cindy suggests that you incorporate what she calls the ’10-minute rule’, “The first 10 minutes of anything is the worst. Get through those 10 minutes and you will find that the work will flow more easily and they will begin to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.”