A recent article in the Guardian newspaper asked parents if they could do their kids’ homework?
No doubt, the article was judged timely in the light of recent news that the UK did not score very highly in international tests which compared the results of children all over the developed world (the UK was placed 26th in maths and 23rd in reading).
Maths Homework Fail
The writer Jay Rayner elected to do his teenage son’s maths homework and doesn’t manage it very well, scoring less than 50% to his son’s 80%. The exercise, as he points out on the website, was a real lesson in humiliation. It had begun with Rayner’s failure to think up a metaphor for pizza, when his son could think one up. And that is despite the fact that Rayner is well known for writing about food.
Selwood HQ and Climbing Frames UK staffers can sympathise. Luckily for us, our children (and probably yours too, if you have children who are still at the climbing frame and trampoline stage) are young enough that we can still help a little with homework – spelling, reading and basic questions on science and maths included.
Homework Temptation for Adults
It is tempting when your children are small to do a little more of their homework for them than you should. After all, you may feel that it is more important for your children to come home after school and unwind from learning. If they have after school hobbies too, such as Brownies or Cubs, or they take part in sports, or drama classes, that too can seem more important than homework and persuading them to sit down for 30 minutes or so to complete their homework a seemingly impossible task.
Who wouldn’t be tempted to give them as much help as possible?
Crucial Part of Educational Development
But homework is an important part of a children’s educational development so doing too much of their homework for them will not be useful in the long run. Learning how to research and do homework translates into life skills for jobs, or further study beyond school. The discipline of it plays a role too.
To make homework easier, you can help by fixing it as a routine in your child’s life. Why not ask your child when they would prefer to do their homework? When they have given you their preferred time, then it will be important for you to insist on this same time every day. Many children might prefer to do it straight after school or just before their evening meal so that their evenings are free. Others might like an early morning slot.
Think Up Their Own Solutions
Another way to help out with homework is to encourage your children to think up solutions themselves. If your child says he or she cannot do something, you can ask why they think they can’t do it and what do they think they would need to be able to complete the question or task.
It’s a good idea to think up ways of making homework fun. When children are young, learning to read can be done when they are out and about by encouraging them to read street and road signs or counting up objects they can see. Make ‘homework’ part of play and it removes the school-like associations from the task.