How to help your child with homework - Tips for Singapore parents
Check out our tips for smart ways to help your child with homework.
The time you spend with your family each evening is somewhat limited.
Usually, by the time dinner is over and the kitchen is put back in order, there’s little time left for anything but homework, bath time and getting ready for bed. Which means there isn’t much time left for anything else.
This fact, coupled with the desire to ‘help’ our kids, often causes us parents to be a bit too helpful when it comes to homework. We sometimes end up doing our kids’ homework, rather than observing and being on the sidelines in case questions arise.
How to really help your child with homework: First things first
When your children have homework, it is usually because a) they didn’t get their work done in class, or b) the teacher feels students need reinforcement of the concept(s) that they learned at school.
This means that if you do your child’s homework, you’re not helping your child at all. In fact, you are hurting them by sending them back to school the next day unprepared to know how to do the work themselves.
Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to sit idly by doing nothing. There are many ways you can help your child with homework. Here are a few:
Ask them to spell their words correctly and play a game seeing how many sentences the two of you can make using the words.
Instead of reading a bedtime story, have them read to you! If that isn’t to your liking, spend a few minutes at the end of dinnertime having them read to the entire family.
You can also encourage their love of reading by reading yourself. It will help, too, to provide your children with books that interest them.
Check their work. If there are any errors, work on a few problems together, explaining the process step by step to your child.
After that, leave them to do the remaining problems, and check them when they are complete.
You can also enhance their learning experience by making math practical. Practical math includes having your children measure ingredients for cooking, counting items, dividing snacks between siblings and so on.
Read over their assignment, answer any questions they may have and then leave them to their work.
After they are done, check for accuracy. If there are any errors, explain to your child why their work needs correcting, make sure they comprehend what you say and then have them redo the work.
Once they’re done, check their work and respond accordingly.
In addition to this, talk to your child. Engage them in conversation and stress the use of proper grammar.
For older children, games such as Mad-Libs and word search puzzles are fun learning tools.
Check any worksheets for accuracy and respond accordingly.
If they are to study for a quiz or test, ask questions from the book or worksheets to ensure they know the material.
If they have special projects such as essays, book reports, maps, diagrams, etc., provide the necessary materials, help them organize and plan their project, and then let them do the work. Your child’s teacher isn’t interested in your creativity or artistic ability — they are interested in your child’s comprehension and perception of what is being taught.
Worksheets and quizzes or tests should be handled in the same manner as those in Social Studies.
As for science fair projects, experiments and similar science homework, provide the necessary materials and make sure your student understands the guidelines and principles of the project. Act as a silent partner — staying nearby in case assistance is needed, but only if absolutely necessary.
When is help not help
The following describe ways how not to help your child with homework, which should be fairly obvious to most parents:
- When the work is done in your handwriting
- Your children go to school the next morning knowing no more than they did the day before
- You sit by their side telling them what to write instead of telling them how to figure out what to write
- Their science projects and/or experiments are done while your child is watching cartoons
- Maps ‘they’ make are measured out to precision
- Your child’s answer when asked about their homework is, “My mom/dad did it.”
- When science projects include motherboards and trip wires
How to really help your child with homework: Develop positive study habits
The most valuable thing you can give your child when it comes to dealing with homework is to teach them to develop good study habits and to approach learning as an adventure worth taking. Here are some tips for doing this:
- Provide a quiet yet cheerful place for doing homework.
- Make sure your child’s mind is ‘well-fed.’ Give your child a snack that is low in sugar and high in protein to fuel her mind.
- Let your child know you are there if she needs you — but only to give instructions when needed.
- Make sure your child understands the instructions for completing the homework assignment.
- Be positive. Have a positive, upbeat attitude about your child’s homework so they will have the same.
- Don’t complain about the teacher’s way of thinking unless it is adversely affecting your child’s self-confidence and self-esteem.
- Hold your child accountable. Check her work for accuracy and don’t take her word that she has got everything done.
Of course it may be tempting to step in and take over when it comes to your child’s homework. However, it’s obvious that you need to resist the temptation to do so.
Instead, allow your child to learn and grow, and to enjoy the feelings of satisfaction and self-pride in doing their best — not just at school, but in all aspects of life.
How do you help your child with homework? Leave a comment and let us know!