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Kath Dickson Family Centre

Serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975serving, protecting and empowering families since 1975

Kath Dickson Family Centre Blog

Avoiding the homework battle

- Thursday, April 20, 2017
The school day is over, the children are home and you brace yourself for the daily arguments over homework. 

It’s a familiar complaint from families, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are some practical strategies for minimising the tensions and reclaiming family harmony as we enter Term 2.

Parents often feel it’s their job to get their kids to do well in school. Naturally, you might get anxious about this responsibility as a parent. You might also get nervous about your children succeeding in life, and homework often becomes the focus of that concern. 

We all know that getting your children to do their homework can be challenging. But think of it as a process for setting up good work habits for the future, encouraging children to take responsibility for their learning and becoming independent thinkers. By taking an interest in what your child is learning at school, it shows the children that parents and teachers work together to maximise learning opportunities. 

Here are some good strategies to set your child up for success: 

Have a homework friendly area. This is a space that is clear of clutter, is well lit, away from the TV and interrupting siblings and is well resourced with pencils, paper, a sharpener and an eraser. 

Try to do it the same time each day. If your child has no homework from school on a particular day, homework time can be spent going through spelling words, working on some maths problems or reading a book. Establishing a homework routine is important. 

Motivate rather than monitor. Show an interest and ask your children about their homework. Motivate them with praise. As tempting as it can be, don’t give the answers. Offer help and support only when they need it. Check the work when they are finished.

Focus on what they do well. Try to ensure that you’re not just focussing on the areas that they have difficulties with. It is about the effort they are putting in, not just the outcome. And remember not to step in and do the work yourself.

Only help while it is enjoyable for you both. If you can feel yourself getting anxious or frustrated, it is time to walk away. Make an excuse that you need to do something and make a dignified retreat before you get locked into a battle. 

Set a good example. If your evening routine allows it, use homework time to sit alongside your children to read a book or answer emails. 

Teach your children to self correct. You don’t need to send them to school with their homework all correct. It is alright for them to get answers wrong. At least then teachers will know what their skill level actually is and help them to improve.

Focus on the basics. Reading, spelling and maths are the most important things to practice at home. Even reading aloud to children three times a week makes a massive difference to their reading ability. Practicing spelling is as easy as ‘Look, Cover, Write and Check’ a few nights per week. 

Ultimately you don’t want homework to ever be a conflict and undermine your relationship with your child. If you have questions or queries about homework you should see your child’s class teacher and talk about strategies specific to your child. 

Find out more about the services offered by Kath Dickson Family Centre at www.kdfc.com.au or by calling 07 4633 8400.