From the year that keeps giving, thought I’d share an adapted excerpt from my current book S.E.N.D. in the Clowns. It’s in the section about homework, but as most of school work has migrated back to home, here we go…I haven’t made this guide age appropriate, as the rule is that at home, normal school rules don’t apply! Distractibility may be high, boredom, frustration levels, anger, so take it easy. Parent and child. Make every short burst of learning a valuable one.
- Supervise your child/children closely to ensure they stay on task. (If you’re a homeworking parent, can you carve one eye out for them? It will motivate them to know you’re interested). If your child is the type that springs up and starts work by themselves, please tell us your secret 🙂
- Read with them or encourage them to read out loud, even older children. It’s easy to misread or misunderstand questions by skimming or reading in your head (we all do it).
- Use humour to diffuse tensions.
- Ask your child to repeat questions or read out loud to you. This is great for improving brain function (language, recall, detail etc).
- Try to gauge their feelings and emotions – if they excitable about working, they’re usually confident and knowledgable about this subject. A sulky or sad face is likely to indicate they’re struggling. Working closely with your children gives you a good insight into what their strengths are. Make sure they spend plenty of time of the stuff they’re good at. This is a good motivation to do little and often of what they’re less keen on!
- Break big tasks into smaller chunks: 20 – 40 minutes (maximum, including prep time to find pens, paints, log in, print the homework, get a drink etc.,).
- Once a task/piece of work is complete.. take a break (a great opportunity to do ‘live’ home school learning, such as shopping, exercising the dog or baby sister, folding up clothes, menu planning for the week ahead)
- During the break, move around. Be silly. Repeat.
- Attempt another piece. Repeat above steps. When it’s done heap praise and positive feedback. Even if they say, “but that was easy” praise them for coping with not being at school, seeing their friends, being brave, being a great member of the family, etc.,
- Saying lots of positive things helps to refuel their emotional tank (hopefully someone else is refuelling yours)
- If your child messes about try and stay calm. Consider a longer break. Can you/they work somewhere else, in another room? Do you need to get out of the four walls? Reacting angrily will only escalate the situation and you will waste valuable learning time and everyone gets stressed in the process.
- Know when you’re done. If the whole day has been a write off, accept it. There’s no point getting cross with them if you’re cross with yourself. Take a deep breath and think what you can reasonably do tomorrow. This is hard, and you’re only human. Remind yourself of this. Be kind to yourself.
© Suzy Rowland