Realizing that your child is not completing their homework or learning tasks can be a stressful moment. Maybe you’ve gotten a call from your child’s teacher, or perhaps it’s an unexpectedly low report card mark. You may have noticed that your child seems to spend a lot of time playing video games, streaming shows, or socializing in the evening. Whatever way you figure out your child needs help getting their schoolwork done, you know it’s time to take immediate action.
We all want our children to excel in school: they spend a significant part of their childhood in a classroom, so we want them to feel successful and fulfilled. Moreover, we want our kids to have a bright future in their careers, and a solid work ethic and organizational skills to go with it. So when our kids are struggling to get their learning tasks done, what can we do to help?
This article explores the concept of homework and it’s place in our kids’ learning. We will then share our 5 ways for helping your child complete homework. With our advice, your child will be back on track in no time.
Learn more about how to help your child with math and language homework.
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The Debate Over Homework
Arguments Against Homework
For many good reasons, parents and educators alike have debated the need to even have homework at all. Many teachers and school boards have “no-homework” policies, arguing that children should be spending time with their families and staying physically active. Some teachers argue that too much homework sets kids up for failure, especially if they have significant responsibilities at home or have unique learning needs. And many teachers find nightly homework an annoying task for everyone involved: homework can feel meaningless unless taken up, and with so many curriculum demands, daily homework checks can be overwhelming.
Many families and parenting experts are also fed up with their kid’s homework load and would like to see an end to it all. With so much technology entering students’ lives, many parents may prefer their child not to log on to their computers in the evening, and instead join a sports team, spend quality time with family members, or meet with friends at the playground. Homework can be an unnecessary cause of stress or anxiety for kids who struggle to keep up with their classes. With so many reasons to end homework expectations, why do so many feel it is important?
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Why Homework is Important
On the other hand, there are many parents and educators that believe homework still has an important role to play in academic life. Many parents want opportunities for their kids to enrich their learning, especially in a world where competition for jobs and innovation happens on a global scale. If other kids around the world are doing homework, why shouldn’t ours? We want our kids to be competitive, and if academic rigor is compromised, we may be doing a disservice to our children’s futures.
Many educators believe the quality, type, and timing of homework needs to be changed rather than an all or nothing deal. Homework should be age appropriate and support overall literacy, not simply “busy work” to be done at home each night. Many teachers practice a “flipped” classroom environment, where kids may complete a reading or watch educational content at home so they can be ready to talk about it the next day. Other teachers simply assign a larger load of work during the day - what doesn’t get done, is homework.
Research has also indicated that a positive correlation exists between homework and academic achievement, especially in older children. Having regular homework can help to improve study habits, self-discipline, and independent problem solving.
Find out the top reasons tutors are the best for providing homework help.
Tips to Help your Child Finish Homework
Whatever your own beliefs about homework assignments, we can probably expect that it is not going anywhere soon. With this in mind, let’s look at some tips for helping your child to do homework.
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Track Your Child’s Assignments
Technology has changed so much in schools, and one of the best benefits is that parents and guardians can be in touch with what is happening in the classrooms. Gone are the days of checking binders and student agendas. We can, instead, simply check a Google class or virtual learning environment for upcoming due dates or even the status of their latest assessments.
Check your child’s virtual classroom regularly to find out what is happening in their classroom, and remind your kids of their upcoming due dates. You can choose to do this regularly, or more frequently until you can see your child develop better independent learning habits.
Older students may, unsurprisingly, not want their parents hovering over their virtual classroom. For parents who want to give their kids a bit of space, it can be more useful to monitor the times of the school year where students are more likely to have exams and bigger assignments, such as the middle and end of the semester. You can also save a lot of guesswork by contacting your child’s teacher and getting a copy of their course outline or simply having a conversation about the upcoming assignments.
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With so many screens and social media platforms to distract us, it’s no surprise so much procrastination happens. It’s not hard to fall into a rabbit hole of researching random topics, TV shows, or gaming with friends. The simple solution to a distracted child is to take away whatever is taking them away from their schoolwork.
Getting a video game console or a smartphone away from your kids is no easy task. There will likely be arguments and even uncomfortable conversations. If your child needs a laptop or cannot get off technology to do their work, you may need to install a program that limits what your child can access: plenty of apps exist to track time spent on sites, social media access, or even send constant reminders when they open a browser tab. No matter how hard it gets, remember that as the parent or guardian, it is your responsibility to make tough choices for your child.
Of course, you can always return the said distraction when homework gets done and academic performance improves - this will likely motivate your child to put in their best effort!
Do you have a child struggling with writing assignments? Learn some strategies to help your child with their writing here.
Schedule Homework Time
Model time management for your child by scheduling homework time into their day. After a long day of classes in person or virtually, your child likely needs a break after school to have a snack, decompress and be active. Once that break is done, it can be useful to schedule in quiet time in the house to do homework. Use a timer to mark out a reasonable timeframe for completion, and make sure there is some time for relaxation before bedtime. Some parents may opt for after dinner, especially if their child has extracurriculars immediately after school. You may need to experiment, but find a time that works for your family and drive consistency until homework time simply becomes part of the day.
Scheduling homework time is a great lesson in time management and self-discipline, two strengths that, when developed, will help your child to succeed well into the future. If you’re not sure how much time to set aside, a good rule of thumb is 10 minutes for every grade level. Of course, ultimately that time will depend on your child’s teachers and the amount of extracurriculars they do. Be flexible, and talk with your kids about their school work so you can adjust and reward accordingly.
Find out our top tips for helping kids with their math homework in this article.
Know When Enough is Enough
As a parent or guardian, it’s also critical to monitor your child’s stress levels at school and determine when they have had enough school work. Teenagers’ homework problems are exacerbated by the pressure of university or college entry, and you want them to have the coping skills they need at postsecondary level. Every child has different learning skills and needs, and you should advocate for your child if you see that the workload is causing too much anxiety and stress. Homework may not be healthy for your child, or support their development, and it's important to be aware. Take your concerns up with your teacher, who might be able to give more insight on your child in school. Make time for breaks, encourage your child to be self aware when they get anxious or experience frustration, and focus on the learning process over perfectionism.
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Hire a Homework Tutor
If all of this sounds daunting, hire a tutor to help your child get homework done and achieve good grades. A tutor can work with your family’s schedule, and focus on your child’s greatest struggles. They can monitor your child’s progress on assignments, and provide you with perspective on what you can do to support your child when they are not there. Good tutors understand how children learn, and can try different teaching strategies to reinforce new concepts. Perhaps most importantly, they can take some stress off your plate with helping your kids in school - essential if you have a demanding career or job.
Sites like Superprof have plenty of amazing tutors near you who can help your child with anything from daily math homework to summative exams or projects. They can meet your child online, come to your home, or meet at a convenient location like a library or cafe. You can amp up tutoring sessions during exam or reporting times when there are more assignments, and scale back during times of the year that are less busy.
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