Girl student studying

Helping your child with school work

It is important to note that helping a child with schoolwork / homework does not mean doing the homework for them. Parents may think they are helping their children but they are actually putting them at a disadvantage. Without doing the assigned homework, they won’t understand the subject properly and when it comes to exams their revision will suffer.

Another resultant problem is that the child’s teacher will constantly get a false picture of their progress through their homework which has simply been done by a parent. The teacher will not be able to help them properly to make progress or discern their weaknesses.

According to the Department of Education…

“the aim of the homework policy is to promote learning at home as an essential part of good education. Homework not only reinforces classroom learning, it also helps children and young people to develop skills and attitudes they need for successful lifelong learning. It supports the development of independent learning skills, including the habits of enquiry and investigation”.

The above quote regarding homework highlights the importance of homework in assisting revision and sucess in exams.

Nowadays, there is increasing pressure for students to do well in exams, and it is understandable that some of that pressure comes home with the student and is felt by the parents.

Even if you as a parent are not vastly experienced in a particular subject, you can be of great assistance in helping your child organise their homework or revision.

Here are a few tips for you parents trying to help your children with their homework:

  • Make your child’s homework environment comfortable and relaxed (but not too relaxed!).
  • Take away any distractions. Revision or homework cannot be done effectively if the TV or music is on in the background.
  • For younger children remember that they will need some rest after coming home from school. Having a break and a snack when they come in could accomplish this.
  • Encourage and commend your child when they are doing their homework.
  • Encourage them to go online and look at revision sites and relevant material on the internet (supervised by an adult).
  • Never do their homework for them, however tempting it may be.
  • Dont chastise them if they make mistakes. Trial and error is an effective way of learning and making mistakes is a part of this process.
  • Don’t set your expectations of them unreasonably high. Try and remember how you were at their age!
  • Dont expect them to do too many hours of homework a day. More information regarding this can be found below.

The recommended necessary time for homework at different levels is set out below. These figures are based on the government’s recommendations.

Daily reading is recommended by the government for all primary school children and this can be incorporated into the time set aside for homework.

The following guidelines apply to secondary school students for homework and/or GCSE coursework:

In Years 12 and 13 the amount of work needed per week will vary depending on the type of course and subject taken by the student. Most schools or courses specify the course requirements in documentation at the start of the course, which enables the student and parents to plan ahead for the work that will need to be done.