School has begun and for parents and students alike, that can only mean one thing: homework.
It’s no secret that homework can be a challenge for pupils and their parents.
Jocelyn Fries, a retired teacher who is now a family tutor coordinator with Literacy Central Vancouver Island, says with many parents working, dedicating extra time to help their children with homework can be challenging, especially in the later years.
“We’ve all become so much busier,” she says. “Parents are so busy and kids are so busy these days.”
Although homework in Grades 1-3 is usually lighter and involves simple math and reading, Fries says parents can make the routine of homework easier for everyone by instilling good habits early on.
“Get them in the routine of doing homework even when they’re in Grade 1 and Grade 2,” she says. “Sit down with your child and help them read, even if it is for five minutes. We all have five minutes for our children.”
She also suggests talking to your children about the importance of doing homework.
Creating a schedule or setting up a routine should be something that involves discussions with the child and both parents.
“That schedule has to be looked at, not just by mom, but by everyone,” Fries says. “So include children in the planning. Have that discussion with them. How are we going to do this? What works for you? Whether they are younger or older.”
Establishing good homework habits early can be beneficial later on when the homework load becomes increasingly heavy. But in the case where the child’s homework is in an area where the parent cannot help them effectively, Fries says a tutor is always a good option if available.
“The parents can also get a tutor, but that can be expensive and isn’t an option for some families,” Fries says. “In that case, it’s best to talk to the teacher to find other strategies for your child. “Teachers and parents are in partnership with education, so talking to teachers is a good step.”
Fries says parents should be checking in with their children about what they’re working on in school and what homework they have, adding that the last thing any parent should be doing is encouraging bad habits.
“Don’t do homework right before bed and don’t do homework while they’re rushing out the door for school,” she says.