By Julie Diamond, B.C. certified teacher and President of Teachers to Go
Homework Tips for Parents for a Happy Home For many parents, it can be a struggle to get their child to focus on homework every night. As a teacher and president of the tutoring company Teachers to Go, I have seen this push-and-pull between parents and children and think the following list may help to end the negotiations, arguments, and tension in your home.
- Teach your child how to maintain a balance between work and play: This is a life skill that is essential for your child, and you, to learn together. Start by getting your child involved in creating a plan to organize the weeknight schedule at home. The child can propose a schedule for the night and you can help him/her consider chores, homework and dinner time. This gives your child ownership of the schedule so when it is homework time, you are simply reminding him/her of the schedule they created.
- Create an area in your home for homework: This should be an area free of clutter and stocked with school supplies. That way, your child can have a place to keep everything he/she needs for homework which will prevent organization issues and homework battles.
- Use checklists and/or timers: For many students, homework can feel incredibly overwhelming. They may have no idea where or how to start, so they would rather procrastinate and/or not do it at all. Checklists are a great tool to teach your child how to break down the assignments and homework into more manageable tasks. He/she can check off each one as it is completed. You can also include movement and/or snack breaks on the checklists to give an incentive to push through each task. For easily distracted students, a timer can be a great tool to keep them focused. Timers can help give your child a better sense of time and motivate him/her to complete a task before the next break. There are many types of timers to choose from and some may be better than others for your child. I would suggest refraining from timers that tick if your child is easily distracted by sounds.
- Use a colour-coding system: Using coloured highlighters, binders and folders is a great way to keep organized. Ask your child to pick a colour for each subject and mark assignments and due dates on a calendar in the corresponding colours.
- Support your child and encourage independent learning: There is a big difference between supporting your child with their homework and doing it yourself. While doing the projects or assignments may seem like a solution to the frequent homework arguments, it is not really doing your child any favours in the long term for his/her confidence or learning. Try starting with the tips above and also by modelling your own work ethic.
If you have exhausted all efforts, and the homework issues seem to be never ending, then it may be best to contact a tutor. He/she can help alleviate the stress and step in as the homework professional.