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Helping Children With Homework

By: Rachel Newcombe - Updated: 11 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Homework School Child Children Work

Homework is an essential part of learning and school for children of all ages. If your child has got to the stage of bringing homework home, then here are some ideas as to what to expect and how you can help them.

When the word ‘homework’ is mentioned to parents, you may find yourself casting your mind back to what homework was like in your day. Whilst some may be the same for children today, especially where course work is involved for older children, school homework isn’t all about sitting down on your own doing a lot of written work. Far from it, in fact.

Homework is work that is set by teachers to be done at home, outside of usual school hours. Usually it picks up on issues or lessons that were taught in class, but sometimes it may involve finishing off work that was started in lesson time. For older children, the work they need to do at home may be essential coursework that will be marked and go towards their eventual exam or course result.

Regular homework is recommended for pupils who are in Year 1 and above. The amount of homework given depends in part on the schools preferences (each school should have a Homework Policy, which you can ask to see) and on their age. As a rough guide, you can expect about:

  • One hour of homework per week, in total, for children in years 1 and 2.
  • One and a half hours of homework per week, in total, for children in years 3 and 4.
  • Two and a half hours of homework per week, in total, for children in years 5 and 6.

What Does Homework Typically Involve?

In the case of primary school aged children, in particular, homework can involve various strands of work and activity. For example it could be:

  • Literacy activities, such as reading a certain book or learning spellings.
  • Maths and number activities.
  • Finding out specific information.
  • Finding and gathering together specific items.
  • Further research on ideas discussed in class.
  • Putting together a presentation to share in class.
  • The homework subjects covered and level of involvement varies depending on age. For young children, in years 1 and 2, you can expect most homework to evolve around key literacy skills, such as reading and spelling, plus work involving maths and numbers. By the time they’re in years 3 and 4, homework will start to involve other subjects too.

    How Can Parents Help With Homework?

    Just because a child is bringing home work to do, it doesn’t mean they need to do it on their own. In many circumstance, having input and help from parents can help them learn more from a task than if they were simply trying to do it on their own. Depending on the type of homework involved, parents may be actively asked to get involved.

    As a parent, you can help by setting time aside to be there to help with your child’s homework needs. Sometimes it might just be a case of listening to them read, or helping them learn spellings, but there are likely to be occasions when you’ll be expected to help more.

    For example, if a project comes home that involves the need to find things out or find specific information, then you may need to get your thinking hat on to come up with appropriate answers. The Internet has made homework researching an awful lot easier than it was in the past.

    If your child isn’t all that keen on homework, it’s beneficial if you can try and promote a positive view of it. The more a child is adaptable and willing to do their homework, the better they’re likely to adapt to it when they get to secondary school; otherwise, the jump from primary homework to secondary expectations can come as quite a shock.

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