“We’re doing homework to make sure we’re prepared.” - Gary Gait

The word homework has a rather negative connotation. There are two schools of thought. Most teachers believe that homework is very beneficial to students and guide their learning. Parents also believe that homework is a vital part of children’s education. The truth is that children do not enjoy doing homework too much. Children tend to rush about doing their homework and end up not reaping much benefit from the task at hand.

So how can you go about making sure that your child's homework is well done?

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Tips for Doing Homework

Include Homework in Your Daily Routine

“No kid should be getting 3 or 4 hours of homework a night. There is no breathing time, there’s no family time, there are just extracurriculars and homework, then go to bed.” - Ross W. Greene

Imagine having to do 3 to 4 hours of homework every night …

The idea of that surely does seem burdensome and overwhelming. While agreeably homework helps prepare students for the routine that they will have to become accustomed to later in life, homework should not be seen as a source of stress. Homework gives students the chance to see what they understand and what they don’t understand. While many parents like to chip in and assist with homework, homework should be done by students themselves with minimal assistance. This will give parents the chance to see where exactly the child is battling at school.

So to avoid seeing your child rushing through his or her homework at the speed of light just to get the work done, create a homework routine so that your child knows that there is time for work and thereafter equal time for play, television, and family bonding.

teen reading textbook
It's a classic, but sticky notes and labels can help make things much clearer. Source: Pexels

The worst thing for parents is a child who has tons of homework (no exaggeration intended) every night of the week because your child hasn’t completed last week’s homework tasks. To stay abreast of what is due when and the daily homework activities, sticky notes, timetables, and school diaries are important.

Train your child to make notes of homework in the homework diary. This will prevent them from forgetting important due dates and the homework for the day.

The task for you as a parent is to create a homework plan with your child. Creating a homework plan with your child can be a form of bonding exercise and will be a great life lesson in terms of giving children responsibility to take accountability for the tasks that they are given.

Children do not do too well with a fully written out plan. Children like to visualise things. Perhaps put up a cool wall calendar with dates and days being listed. The wall calendar is a good plan so children can list their daily homework tasks as well as important due dates on the calendar. You can make sure that the calendar is of a design that your child likes so that he or she will enjoy looking at and studying the calendar daily.

Outlining due dates and tasks in the form of a calendar means that your child can break down bigger projects so it’s not too overwhelming doing the project. Spending a few minutes daily on the English literature project will mean not sitting up until the wee hours of the morning trying to complete the task the night before it’s due.

Planning allows you to break larger activities into more manageable tasks.

A little homework daily never hurt anyone. On the day that there is no homework during the week, get your child to utilise the homework time for studying. Studying throughout the term means less stress just before the exam.

The key to success at the end of each term comes from regular studying and from the completion of homework daily.

Online Homework

“Teens think listening to music helps them concentrate. It doesn’t. It relieves them of the boredom that concentration on homework induces.” - Marilyn Vos Savant

Teenagers listen to music online while doing homework so that the chore of doing homework seems more appealing. While this is a good technique, children need to be able to complete homework tasks and do some enrichment within a stipulated time to avoid spending an entire evening on homework tasks. If music is the only thing that can keep your child focussed during homework time, allow them to listen to music.

girl standing infront of school planner on blackboard
Create a homework roster to help your child stay abreast of homework. Source: Pexels

One way to save your child some time every day is by efficiently planning. In that way, your child will spend just the right amount of time doing the tasks without spending unnecessary time trying to figure out what tasks need to be done.

Use online apps to help you to plan if your child or teenager is more technologically savvy.

Online apps like MyHomework Student planner or My Study Life are excellent apps that help students to stay abreast of all homework tasks, examination dates, and schedules from the comfort of his or her device.

To remind your child of homework time, set an alarm

Are you scared if your child is using an online application to keep track of homework, he or she will get distracted by the games on his or her phone? You can set an alarm clock that will serve as a reminder that homework time is approaching.  You can set an alarm to indicate that it’s homework time and another alarm that indicates homework should be completed. This way your child won’t get unnecessarily distracted by his or her smartphone when doing homework within a set time frame.

On days when there is too much homework, prioritise homework that is most important. Work due the next day must be completed first.

During weeks when there is no homework, you can still keep your child on his or her toes with online homework apps like Quizziz and Khan Academy.

Who Invented Homework Anyways?

Are you curious about who actually invented homework?

Have you tried a Google search to see who the inventor of homework is? Well, the name Roberto Nevilis may pop up. It was believed that Roberto was the first teacher who invented homework as a form of punishment for his students. If this holds true, homework having such a negative connotation seems apt.

However, the claim that Nevilis was the first inventor of homework is not at all credible. To put to bed the idea that homework was created by Nevilis is the known California law that banned homework for children under 15 in the year 1901. So could homework only have been invented by Nevilis in 1905 when it was already banned in 1901?

Sounds doubtful, doesn’t it?

It may be impossible to put a finger on who actually created homework, however,  we do know that homework is meant to reinforce the work learned at school and is certainly not a form of punishment.

To reinforce the idea that homework is important and not a form of punishment, you could consider rewarding your child if he or she does the homework well. Knowing that there is a reward at the end of the homework tunnel will enable your child to remain more focused on getting homework done.

Sometimes the reward can be as small as ensuring that your child gets a break after doing homework.  Breaks are essential for kids especially very young kids as it allows them to breathe and not be so overwhelmed.

Adding some music to homework time could be quite a treat as well.

Time to be Spent on Homework

Setting a homework schedule or roster is all well and good but you need to establish how much time your child needs to be spending on homework. All parents agree that spending more than 2 hours on homework per night is far too much (especially for primary school children).

little girl practising meditation
Many techniques can help you stay concentrated on the task at hand. (Source: Pexels)

High school students get more than 6 hours of homework weekly (including weekend work). While some high school kids spend more time completing homework, others spend far less time on homework. Primary school homework should seem like a breeze in comparison to high school homework. However, learners in the foundation phase work rather slowly. In this regard, reading a few sentences or writing a few sentences can take quite a long time for a young learner.

You need to make sure that from the foundation phase, you train your child to not spend too much time dilly-dallying when it comes to homework. When your child is in high school, he or she will reap much benefit from working and not procrastinating, especially when the homework piles up.

We advocate that primary school children spend at least 20 minutes to half an hour on homework daily.

Secondary school students will probably be attending tutorial lessons for subjects like mathematics. Tuition is not the same as spending time sitting with homework. High school students need to spend a fair amount of time on homework too. With high school students, you need to ensure that they are doing homework to understand concepts and not so that the homework can be rushed through.

In need of a tutor who will assist in ensuring your child remains focused while completing homework, consider searching for the right tutor on the Superprof site. You are bound to find many tutors offering tutorials in academic subjects as well as tutorials for music, foreign language learning, and cooking.

With the right tutor, the chore of doing homework will seem less like a bore but a core component to helping you excel more.

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Laila

Laila is an enthusiastic English educator and a fun-filled freelance writer. She has accomplished her dream of getting her first book published and has managed to write over 1 000 000 words since beginning her freelance career. In her free time, she is a travel blogger who explores all South Africa has to offer.