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Nikki HeymanBy Nikki Heyman a Speech & Language Therapist, married with 2 kids and also runs a private practice. Visit her blog  or Facebook page to find out more about her.

Almost every parent of a school-aged child has experienced the last minute hysteria when they realize that there is a test or an assignment due the next day and the child has not done the work. Sometimes, it’s not clear who is the more hysterical: the child, or the parent!

There are growing complaints from parents about children being over burdened with homework. The pressure of our modern busy lifestyle, compounded with the busy schedules of children, who I feel are often over -burdened with extra curricular activities has brought this age-old debate to the fore.

Competition from the television, tablet technology, play-station games, social networks and cell phones make the path from the car to the desk even more treacherous. The policing role that parents have to play leads to tension and in many cases, the parents ‘help’ by doing the work themselves.

How do we reduce the pressure of homework overload and still practice skills?

MAKE  TIME  COUNT

1. Car Time
a. ‘Finger writing’ on the car seat or on a sibling’s back can be used to practice spelling words.
b. Add up number plates to practice number bonds or drill tables.
c. Encourage your child to read road signs, billboards and logos in order to familiarize them homeworkwith print.

2. Grocery Shopping:
a. Encourage your child to compile a grocery list. Essential reading and spelling skills can be reinforced.
b. Send your child down the aisle to fetch specific items. This can be used as a memory task and a reading task depending on how specific you make the task. You can ask for a specific brand of toilet paper.
c. Checking for prices of items, adding them up and estimating the total cost reinforces maths concepts.

WHERE AND WHEN

1. Location is crucial
This will depend on your child and the culture of your family. Some children do best at a desk in their bedroom, others need to have a parent keeping an eye on them and monitoring what they are doing. Make sure that the child has the necessary materials required for doing their homework.

2. Homework Time
It is often not possible to do homework at the same time every day. If your child is extremely tired, then it may be necessary to leave out some of the homework and talk to the teacher.

Assign a limited but reasonable amount of time to do homework. Using a clock next to the child may assist them with time management. I am interested in HOW the child tackles the homework. If a child is spending an hour doing homework that should take 10 minutes, then there is a problem that needs to be investigated. Communicate with your child’s teacher! It is much more helpful for a teacher if a parent communicates the difficulty than being faced with another weak excuse or sore tummy.

Finding the right balance when giving children homework help is tricky. After all, we all want our kids to succeed.

Have you got some thoughts to ease the pain of homework?

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