Every child should get set work to bring home and do after school, whether they’re at primary or secondary school.
Finding time to get that work done is crucial for their learning, so devising a homework timetable is often the best way of ensuring it gets done in time.
Hands up who remembers having a last minute panic to do their homework when they were young? You may also remember excuses as to why you didn’t do your homework.
As much as homework may be disliked by children – and by you, when you were young – it’s an essential part of learning and education and is there for a reason.
All children, whether they’re in primary or secondary schools, should be set regular homework.
The nature of the homework they’ve got to do will vary, but with primary aged children you can expect to have to get involved to some degree, be it with helping them learn maths, new spellings or how to find out information.
How to Set a Homework Timetable
In order to help get children into the practice of doing their homework, and knowing when it’s time to knuckle down and do it, it’s beneficial to devise a homework timetable.
To start off with, and especially with younger children, this can be a time such as after school or after supper, when they should do their homework.
As they may not have so much homework to do, there’s no major need to set specific times in which they do it, but this may be needed for older children.
As much of primary homework requires parental input, you need to ensure you are free at the same time to help. If you’re busy cooking or working, then it won’t be practical and won’t help their learning.
Many families are already leading busy lives, with after school clubs and various classes booked into a busy schedule.
So it can be very useful to have a timetable, perhaps put up in the kitchen or on a noticeboard, clearly marked with what is going on when and when the homework should be done.
If your child is not all that keen on doing homework, then you could consider some kind of reward system to keep them motivated and encourage a more positive attitude to learning.
It’s a good idea to avoid edible treats, such as sweets or chocolate, and use rewards that are fun, but also have an additional learning or educational element to them, such as a visit to a science museum, a trip to the zoo or the chance to choose a new book or comic.
Homework Timetables for Older Children
Homework inevitably becomes more serious and more detailed for older, secondary aged children. It’s also more likely to be work they mostly need to get done on their own, without mum or dad having their say.
Homework timetables are particularly helpful for older kids, as setting aside specific times of the evenings or weekends to get homework done adds structure to their schedule.
Planning plenty of fun activities around homework, or a break in the middle of a homework session, can help increase productivity and motivation to get the work done so that they can get on with something more enjoyable.
Older children may like to write their own timetable or produce a timetable in conjunction with you; either way, if you think their aims or expectations are unrealistic, it may help to offer practical suggestions as to how it could be worked out better.
Again, a homework timetable in the form of a chart or whiteboard is really useful. If you’re using a whiteboard, the homework that needs to be completed each week can be written on it and ticked, or wiped off, when it’s completed.
Being organised and able to work to a timetable will be useful all through school life, but particularly during revision periods for exams, when studying is essential.