Many parents complain about the amount of homework their children are getting from school. The debate over whether students should receive homework from school has been ongoing for many years.
On the ‘yea’ side are those who believe that homework helps the student to develop good study habits, it provides the child with the additional practice and discipline required to develop mastery in the concepts taught in school and it gives parents the opportunity to get involved in, contribute towards, support and monitor what the child is learning in school and to monitor how well the child is coping. Complaints about homework come from all participants in the process.
The ‘nay’ side on the other hand, comprises some teachers, who complain that it is another item requiring extra time in their already overloaded schedules; parents and students who complain that it takes away from their leisure time and is a source of stress.
Teachers and parents do all they can to improve the child’s understanding and application of whatever is taught. The child is therefore the focal point in this process. The parent is usually unaware of what the child is learning or how well they are coping. Homework is the only way parents can get involved on an ongoing basis, especially in the earlier school years.
It is true that homework should not take up all the child’s spare time. 10 minutes multiplied by the child’s school year has been suggested as acceptable. A child in year 1 spends ten minutes on homework, year 2, twenty minutes and so on.
If your child’s school does not provide homework, at the beginning of each term, find out from their teachers what topics they would be covering. Check that this corresponds with the National Curriculum. If not, ask questions about how the school plans to bridge any gaps. Textbooks from the school or the local library, which cover the same topics usually prove very useful. Exposure to the same topic in a variety of formats usually helps to improve understanding.
If homework is provided, parental supervision will be required for the younger children. This should be gradually reduced as children progress into secondary school so the child develops independence and takes ownership of his/ her own work. Homework diaries will still need to be checked to ensure that assignments are handed in and that they are completed to an acceptable standard.
Your child needs to recognise the importance of school work. Help them to establish a good routine, away from distractions and in a ready frame of mind. Remain positive and don’t nag.
Parent involvement in a child’s education is consistently found to be positively associated with a child’s academic performance. So, if you want your child to achieve their potential, roll up your sleeves and get stuck in!