Homework wars!


By Karen Seinor

Homework has become another hot topic in education. Most educators agree that in secondary school it is beneficial and there are links between achievement and homework. However, in primary-aged children there is very little evidence to suggest that it benefits the child’s academic performance. Children work so hard at school that what they really need is time to rest and play after school. This is the reason many schools are no longer giving homework.

Homework can be a source of stress for many families; most children don’t like homework and it can be a constant battle to get it done. Let’s face it, most parents aren’t teachers and often feel they lack the patience or skills to assist their children. Funnily enough, it never ceased to amaze me the number of parents who would request extra homework for their children or have a perception that a teacher who gives more or harder homework is a better teacher. Really, in kindergarten the most beneficial thing you can do is read with your child and let them play. Having said that, some schools will still give homework so here are a few tips to help with the homework wars.

Give children a snack and break before starting homework

Set up a comfortable space for homework with minimal distractions

Set up a time to do homework that works for your child; some children are best getting it over and done with while others need an extended break before they are ready to concentrate again

Choose a time when you aren’t too busy to help support them and show interest but don’t helicopter them – it’s their work and their responsibility

Don’t be overcritical of errors or presentation

Don’t get into huge fights over homework. If your child is refusing to do it, simply send it to school incomplete and let them deal with the consequences

If you feel the work is too challenging for your child talk to your child’s teacher about modifying it

*This is an excerpt from Karen Seinor’s new book Is My Child Ready For School – a guide for parents on all things school. Based on current research on brain development and insights from many years of teaching, it examines many aspects of development related to learning.

New Holland Publishers RRP $19.99 available from all good book retailers or online www.newhollandpublishers.com

Karen Seinor has been a passionate educator for over seventeen years. She has worked as both a classroom teacher and an english as a second language teacher and whilst she has enjoyed her many roles as a teacher, her passion lies in Kindergarten, where she has taught for many years. She has a focus on education in Australia as she examines key issues through the lens of both teacher and parent.




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