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Make a study schedule. Set specific days and time for homework and make sure that you have enough time at your disposal.
Choose a quiet study place. Find yourself a place free of distractions and the ‘little temptations’ of TV and tablet. Setting your mobile phone on silent mode can also do wonders on your concentration!
Prepare your study space. Remove any unnecessary objects and make space for your books, computer, or stationery. Don’t forget to make sure that there is adequate lighting in the room!
Organize your books and the educational material you were given. Make a list of the assigned homework tasks and decide in which order you will go through them. Don’t forget to review any course material available on the learning platform(s).
Begin with a short revision. First remind yourself of what was done in class and then proceed to the homework tasks.
Start studying with what you consider to be the most difficult task. The benefit in this case is that you work with the least possible fatigue and the most possible clarity. Sometimes, however, you may need to begin from something you deem easy. This gives you more concentration time for a more difficult task and a sense of accomplishment. After all, who doesn’t like crossing things off their to-do-list?
Draft a list with your queries. Prepare a list with your questions and ask your teacher in the next lesson.
Make a note of something interesting or new that you learned by doing homework. Studying is often full of surprising new things! Make a habit of keeping a list with new or surprising information that made an impression on you.
Prepare your things for the next lesson. Make sure that you have everything you need with you (books, worksheets, stationery, etc.)
Establish a homework routine that you will agree upon with your child and let them choose a specific day and time during which they will do their homework for the next lesson. There is no ‘magic number’ regarding the total time each child may need for homework, but it is good practice to avoid the feeling of being pressed for time due to other (extracurricular) activities. Work together to pick a time slot that is fully compatible with your child’s maximum study performance!
Together with your child, choose a designated study space free of distractions and noise. For example, if your child is studying in the living room, make sure that the TV is off and that they will not be interrupted by other members of the family. Don’t forget to check with your child that the study space selected remains the same as years go by, as it is possible for them to change their study preferences and habits.
Help them resist the ‘temptations’! Keep their study space free of toys, mobile phones, tablets, or similar items which can easily distract the child’s attention. When the computer is part of their daily study routine, make sure you periodically check that the child does not procrastinate, surf the Internet, or play games.
Teach your child to have all the materials they will need readily available, e.g., books, worksheets, notebooks, pencils, erasers, etc. This enhances their organizational skills and helps them avoid unnecessary interruptions because of that ‘pencil’ or ‘notebook’ they forgot…
It’s best to avoid transitioning abruptly from playtime to homework time. Activities securing a smooth transition, such as feeding a pet, doing chores, etc., can do the trick. Work hard against using the usual line: “Stop playing; It’s time to study” as this may affect the child’s performance or result in negative feelings towards studying.
Guidance – Autonomy
Follow the teacher’s instructions. Read the list with the assigned homework together with your child and make a timeline.
Teach your child to begin studying by revising what was taught in class first. Don’t forget to consult the parent-teacher communication notebook or the learning platform about classwork and ask your children to start by revising the vocabulary, grammar rules, reading texts or notes used in class before proceeding to homework tasks.
If your child finds a specific kind of task particularly demanding, it’s best not to leave it for the end, especially if they are young learners. For example, if a child finds dictation daunting and decides to do this at the end, they are likely to find it extremely difficult as a task due to fatigue or lack of clear thinking. This may progressively lead to the development of a negative attitude towards dictation that will be hard to eradicate. On the other hand, starting with what students perceive to be “the most difficult” makes them feel less tired and more focused, while it also cultivates a feeling of success and a sense of accomplishment.
Help your child begin homework by explaining how to do the tasks assigned, read the instructions together and guide them as to how they can go about completing the task. Remember that the goal is to help your child become autonomous.
Resist the temptation to correct any mistakes you may notice. If you spot a mistake, you can ask the child to check the exercise carefully and let them make any corrections they deem necessary. Do not deprive the teacher of having a clear picture of a student’s progress.
Try role-playing games! Are you ready for a student-experience with your child as a teacher? By assuming the role of a teacher, a child can demonstrate how much they have actually learned! Don’t miss out on that!
When study time is over, make sure that all tasks are done. Ask your child if they have finished homework and discreetly check their to-do list with them. Have your child put all their things (books, worksheets, pencil case, etc.) in their school bag and get it ready for the next lesson. Mission Accomplished!
Reward progress but use ‘material rewards’ judiciously! Providing occasional rewards for meeting homework goals can be great motivation when first establishing a study routine but it should progressively be withdrawn. Invest in reasonable, well-targeted praise which can foster intrinsic and long-lasting motivation.
Praise your child for their efforts (big or small, successful or not) and not (just) for their natural talents. Don’t forget that not all of us progress the same way and that sometimes learning slowly does not necessarily mean not learning effectively! Have faith in them!