Homework Management For Parents

Educational Psychologist Dr. Sharon Aitken shares how parents can help their children with homework, and teach them the valuable skill of time management.

Set up homework structures at the beginning of the year and then supervise daily until the end of the year. Check homework every single day until you are 100% sure that your child can self-manage, then check weekly and if your child is still coping then you can consider not checking homework.

WHEN: Parents must ensure that there is a set homework time every day, although this time can differ according to extra-mural commitments. Check with the teacher how long a child should be working for in that Grade. Homework time must be at an appropriate time of day. For example, Grade 1’s should not be doing homework at 7pm and high school learners should not be starting homework at 10pm.

WHERE: Parents must ensure that there is an appropriate workspace at home, that is well-lit, has a height-appropriate chair and is preferably in an area with minimal distractions. Cell phones and devices should not be present unless needed for homework. Feel free to randomly check what the devices are being used for and warn them that you will need to see the online work e.g. a search history, submission of documents, screenshots etc.

WHAT: Except for the first week or two at school there is no such thing as no homework. Most schools will give set homework, expect your child to be preparing for tests or be busy with projects. Preparation for examinations or year-end assessments starts on the first day of teaching. Your child should be learning from the beginning of the year.

WRIGGLE ROOM: Try to minimise wriggle room. If your child says there is no homework, they are usually avoiding the work and if you allow this then you have reinforced a behaviour that will increase until they do no homework. The easiest way to make sure that they are doing homework is to check their homework daily, especially when in high school. Homework must be dated always. Enforce the rule that there is no such thing as no homework. If they insist, then they must do each of the following for 10-30 minutes (time depending on their grade), read their first language, read their second language and practice Maths. They should be earning their privileges (e.g cellphone, screentime) by meeting their responsibilities. So if they refuse to do homework then they have chosen not to have the privilege of a phone or screentime for the next 24 hours until the next homework time when they have another chance to earn their privileges.

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