School homework has a variety of clear aims: It helps children to develop organizational skills, discipline and responsibility and it reinforces the knowledge acquired during school hours, as well as cultivating study and learning skills. All of these objectives are very important as they are crucial for our children’s further development and in their adult life.
So, as mothers, what can we do so that these objectives are met and for children to get the most out of their homework?
Take an interest in their homework, but DON’T do their work for them: You have to supervise them, ask them what homework they have that day and help them to organize themselves. They may need a small explanation in order to start. However, the worst thing you could do is to do your child’s work for them or to sit with them until they finish. In fact, children who do their homework on their own perform better in math and science, according to a study carried out by the University of Oviedo, in Spain.
Set a fixed time for homework: The same study shows that the optimal duration for homework should be one hour (or 70 minutes maximum). If the child spends less time than this, they won’t reinforce what they learned and if they spend longer, they get too tired to perform to their best ability. Ideally, homework should be done at the same time every afternoon to promote consistency and responsibility.
Dedicate a place in the house for doing homework: It is also essential that you dedicate a specific place in the house for children to do their homework; it should be a place with good light and somewhere comfortable, where you can see them.
Keep distractions to a minimum: This includes the television, computer and cell phone. There will be times when your child wants to check their iPad, watch a television program or talk to a friend on the phone before they have finished their homework. You can allow them to do this once as an exception, however, don’t allow it to become a habit, as their main duty is their schoolwork.
Praise your child for their work to show them that what they are doing is important: Generally, children respond well to positive encouragement. When they have finished their homework and you check it, praise them for a job well done. This will increase their self-esteem, enjoyment and confidence and will encourage them to continue to do their best to succeed in school and with their homework.