Are you a parent who’s faced by a child with a stack of homework every day, and the challenge of getting them to keep on top of it. Homework disputes can become significant if there is a lack of understanding on both sides, and can come as the result of differences of opinion over how work should be completed, as well as through problems with teenage motivation. What kind of solutions can be tried, then, for getting homework completed on time and to a decent standard?
One of the main issues with homework is being able to get children, parents, and teachers on the same page – there may be a lack of communication across these groups for what’s expected from particular subjects. This can also vary between different subjects. Parents may want to intervene and help, but can get frustrated by the work, and may find that they end up arguing with their children about the level of work they’re producing. A recent survey in the UK suggested that 50 per cent of mothers, and 40 per cent of fathers, struggle to deal with homework.
Confusion over what to do with homework can also be linked to differences in learning and marking methods from when parents were younger. What seems to be the best approach to, say, a Maths problem, can be different from what’s being taught in classes – the result can be children that are getting conflicting information in school and at home. Parents may also not have all the information they need on marks for GCSE and A Level coursework, and can try to steer children in the wrong direction.
Another problem is apathy, particularly amongst teenagers, for homework itself. Many teenagers may either ignore or partially ignore homework, to the point when parents aren’t even aware that it needs to be completed. It can be hard to change these habits, particularly when work is sent out online, and there’s no clear way of checking that homework is being worked on.
There are a few approaches you can take, however, if you’re a parent that wants to make homework less stressful. One approach is to create a structured environment for homework, with set times and rewards for working – this might involve ensuring that children aren’t working in busy and distracting parts of the home, while also providing small rewards for completing work on time. It’s also important to detach yourself from the homework itself, and to not try to closely manage marks and results; this can lead to children losing their own initiative.
If there are problems, it’s important to speak to teachers about what they recommend, and to clarify their approaches. Issues with homework can develop if there is missed communication, and you don’t want to assume that the kind of explanations you’re giving are consistent with what’s going on within school. Teachers can suggest extra resources, as well as putting you into a clearer frame of mind regarding expectations and marks.
In terms of motivation, you might want to try giving children a sense of the bigger picture – break down homework and suggest that getting into a decent habit every day will prevent work from building up to the last minute. Try to use examples from your own life and work to demonstrate the benefits of good time management, as well as the rewards for completing work on time and to a good standard.