Helpful Homework Hints
While expectations vary from school to school, homework is a part of school life. However, it doesn’t always lead to great excitement in children or parents. It can often be a struggle to keep children motivated to complete tasks or even begin homework tasks. Having the right tools and space in your home can be very helpful in overcoming this hurdle.
School supplies and stationery are often left at school, especially with primary aged children, so it is a good idea to have some items ready for your child to use at home. These items will not only be useful for homework but will be useful for project work, art work or for creative free time.
Get set up
Some obvious items include pens and pencils, markers, scissors, glue, rulers, sticky tape and paper. But there are other less obvious items that can support your child with their homework, including tape measures, counters and small objects for number work, dice, reference books like dictionaries and thesaurus (can also be accessed via a digital device), a calculator and other items that could support the variety of tasks your child is expected to complete at home. It can also be nice to have a ‘arts & craft’ box with leftover wrapping paper, paint, small cardboard boxes, paper plates, wool, bottle tops etc so your child is equipped for making a model when needed or to just make something creative as it comes to mind.
Another great way to get your children excited about homework is to create a homework space. This allows your children to take ownership of their homework and gives them a dedicated, inspiring space where everything is ready for them to get to work. Children will know that by entering that space homework tasks need to be completed. If you have an office in your home you could create a space for your child and if you live in an apartment with limited space, a movable trolley could be all you need to get your child ready to focus on their homework.
Create a homework space
- The location of the homework space is important – try and keep the bedroom and homework space separate. Depending on the age of your child you may need to remove distractions such as ipads, games or TV.
- Make it a comfortable, inviting space – try not have children sitting on the couch working off their laps, a desk and chair create better habits and are more comfortable and practical to work on.
- Have a calendar visible – mark off project due dates, important events, special days and holidays.
- Have a clock/timer visible – keep to time limits as best you can. This also helps keep your child on track and stops them from asking you how much longer they have to work for.
- Form a routine – help your child decide on when to do their homework, eg: as soon as they get home, or after dinner for older children. When they are finished encourage them to get ready for the next day to help with the morning routine.
- Have an inbox – this is a space for important paperwork that you need to see such as permission slips, homework diaries, reports and important documents.
- Display their work and achievements around the space to motivate them.
- Organise the space – keep it neat and tidy and not too cluttered. This is especially important for young children who could become easily distracted.
- Get their input – ask your child what they would like in the space, and get them to help you keep it ordered and tidy. They may be really proud of a piece of art they have done and want it displayed. By giving them a say in the space you encourage ownership of the space and make it somewhere that they will want to be.
- Show interest in your child’s homework and let them know that it is important to you. Follow up with them after they complete tasks and share it with the rest of the family to encourage everyone to be part of the learning process.
Homework time does not have to be a struggle of wills. With a little planning and some key preparation, homework time can be as enjoyable as it is beneficial.