It’s the bane of many children’s lives, but homework does serve an important educational purpose and it’s helpful for parents to encourage a healthy attitude to homework from an early age.
Going to school all day is enough for some children, so coming home and having to do more work isn’t much fun. However as much as they hate homework, it is an important part of their education and learning. It can be hard work cajoling children into sitting down and dutifully doing any homework they’ve been set, but in the long run it’s definitely worth persisting with it.
As parents, you can play a role by trying to encourage a healthy attitude to homework. Rather than focusing on the negatives (having to sit down and work when they want to go out and play) try and help children see that homework can be fun.
When they’re young, homework won’t be long and arduous and there may be tasks set that you can all join in with and offer insight into. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you do their homework for them, but you can get actively involved in helping them find answers, do research or work through problem-solving activities.
If your child is still very reluctant to do any work at home, then it may also help to offer small incentives. For example, this could be allowing them to go out and play, play a computer game or watch television when they’ve done their homework. It’s probably best to avoid large incentives, such as monetary payments, especially for young children.
Why Is Homework Important?
Homework is an important extension of classroom learning. It helps to cement the ideas that children learn at school (or should be learning!), helping things sink in further and expanding their knowledge. Homework can take various forms, consisting of:
- Solving problems of a mathematical or scientific nature.
- Answering a series of questions.
- Writing creative prose and short stories.
- Keeping a journal of holiday or weekend experiences.
- Writing an essay.
- Preparation for a test, such as a spelling test, where you need to learn certain word spellings.
- Looking things up in an encyclopedia or on the Internet to improve research skills.
- Finding things out about themselves or their families.
The complexity and amount of homework that needs to be carried out obviously increases considerably as children progress through school. The amount of homework given to primary aged children varies, but they are likely to get some on a regular basis. Getting used to doing homework from an early age will definitely be an advantage, as children are more likely to continue doing so as they progress through their school years.
Some schools promote the use of homework diaries, which are ideal for making a note of what homework you’re supposed to be doing. Without them, there are always some children who forget to write down the details or miss what was being said. Not handing in any homework can get them into trouble at school and isn’t a pattern or habit that you want them to caught up in.