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Homework Time

supporting your child with different learning difficulties

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We all know how important homework is, but we also know how reluctant children can be to do it. Whereas we had only the TV as a distraction, children these days have numerous other activities available to them, via the Internet and the Xbox or Play Station. Here’s some tips to help them focus.

No distractions

Your children are not going to like it, but the single most helpful thing you can do is to ban all forms of distraction during homework time. No TV, no iPad, no phone, and if the internet is to be used, then for research purposes only – no flicking back and forth to Facebook or Kick. They need to concentrate, and once they realise how much more quickly they can get the work done, they may become more amenable to giving up their screens for a while. Reward them with free reign on their favoured activities once they can show you that homework is completed.

Make space

Older children will need a proper area in which to do their homework, with room to organise their books and preferably, access to the internet. It doesn’t need to be a huge space; if space is at a premium or if your child shares a bedroom, it might be difficult to squeeze it in.  You may need to use the kitchen table, but clear the clutter from it, make your child comfortable and chase younger children out of the room until homework time is over.homework time

Don’t overdo the helping

This is music to any parent’s ears, especially once they get to secondary school and start coming home with complex work that you might not even have touched upon during your school days.  Remember that the purpose of homework is to teach and assess your child – if you have actually produced the work for them, their teachers are not going to know where they are struggling and needing more help.

That said, if your child appears worried about their homework or seems not to be able to manage it, you are going to have to find a way to help them out. Sit down with them and go back over their class work, making sure that they understand the lessons. They (and you) should then be able to transfer this knowledge to the homework that they have been set. If it’s a subject that you have no grasp of, and their class work still doesn’t help you to understand it, you may have to admit defeat and enlist the help of a friend or family member who has the requisite knowledge. Remember, though, that it’s not about giving your child the answers – it’s about making sure that they understand how to work the answers out for themselves.

Get informed

If you are really struggling to give your child any help with certain subjects, it may be time for you to go back to school. Maths and science subjects seem to pose a particular challenge to many parents, but you may find your recall of England’s kings and queens, or your knowledge of the works of Shakespeare, have become a little rusty too. You can do your own research on the internet, or pick up some books and simple study guides to give you the basics. But if you really want your child to feel that you are learning alongside them and supporting their efforts, there are plenty of adult education classes out there, where you can brush up your knowledge and perhaps even gain yourself some extra qualifications along the way.



About Paula Hendry

About Paula Hendry

Paula Hendry is a freelance consultant in the field of social work. She has been a social worker for twenty five years, and specialises in mental health. Paula has two children and writes in her spare time (which is virtually non-existent.)

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