Homework Tips for Parents

Did you just utter the not-so-interesting-word ‘homework’? Is this word taboo in your house merely to keep the peace? Well let me assure you, you’re not the only victim of it and your household isn't the only one where such scenes are staged, however by following these simple homework tips for parents you can bring the peace back to your home when it comes to homework.

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Well, to begin with, what is homework? Ideally, it is a task assigned to a learner beyond the conforms of his classroom, to improve his grasp over the concept freshly introduced or currently ongoing in the class. It is basically to toy with the concept, work it out, analyze it, apply it and extrapolate it. It is basically a session to identify and bond with the concept.

All of us are different in our physical and psychological makeup and so when anything is presented to us we all perceive it in our own ways. Homework is an opportunity provided to a learner to pick the concept up and study it. The more he analyzes it, the clearer it becomes to him. He examines the concept at his pace from all angles and then his comprehension widens and deepens.

In the class he may have just followed a concept being presented by the facilitator but while doing his homework he is able to relate to it on his own and then he doesn't see it as something that has come from the teacher which has been thrust upon him forcefully and that he needs to rebel or defer it to escape from being a victim to it.

So, in my opinion, the inability to relate to a concept given as homework makes a learner skip or shun it. They may give you umpteen numbers of reasons for not doing it. They may perceive you as being equally unreasonable for encouraging the completion of the homework. This idea defeats the very noble intention of giving homework.

Now a word for facilitators, how do you package homework to actually make all your learners grab it, complete it satisfactorily and hand it to you well within the due date? It's easier than you thought. During my years of classroom interactive teaching, I did have a few consistent students who would more often than not never submit their work on time. A group of them who were a little laid back and had to be gently prodded and encouraged. These were the ones who could never understand the concept on their own and had to be helped with it. But surprisingly there was another peculiar group too. They were bright, had a firm grasp over the concept, would give out the correct answers in class orally, would peer tutor the ones who were struggling with that concept really well. But then what made them not hand over their work on time? They challenged me but believe me, I lived up to their challenge and so can you.

The answer lies in presenting the package correctly. So spell out the task and ask the learners to work on and 'dress the concept up' in any way that they choose. It not only serves the purpose of actually making them work on the concept but actually gets them to be more creative as they present the work in their own style.

For example, if you wanted them to work on the lives of people in the Indus Valley Civilization, you could make them write an article (you will have very few takers for this), prepare a power point presentation (a few more takers), write it down in the form of a conversation between the learner and 'one of his friends' from that civilization comparing their lives and situations then and now (a lot more takers), making puppets and actually presenting it in class (most number of takers), etc. Accept all forms but insist they center it on the fundamental concept.

Always give sufficient time for your students to submit their work. You could have a few indecisive ones who may need assistance in choosing the manner they want to do the homework or a student who may want to undo the whole thing when nearing completion because the outcome did not satisfy him. Or you may even have an odd Einstein who may want to try out more than one ways to do the work and actually speak out in class the better of the two.

Hey parents! Being a teacher and a parent I know the struggle at both the ends. Just as a mom or dad you know instinctively what works best for your child, the same is the case with homework too. Here are a few homework tips for parents that you can do to assist your child with his homework. Believe me, they work. Try them.

- Allow them to set their own time schedule to complete their homework (you can help them out with this).

- Encourage them to stick to the schedule and accomplish the amount of task that they had planned.

- Assist them if the task requires researching (I strongly recommend parents assist them as they surf on the internet, for their safety). This time serves as a good bonding time too as you get to talk to your child about his school life, activities, etc.

- Prioritize homework along with the other things the child enjoys like tennis, dancing etc.

- NEVER use homework as a means of time out. It is an activity by itself and definitely not a consequence or punishment for something unacceptable that the child has done.

- NEVER end up doing the homework yourself simply because it needs to get done on time or because you’re not sure that your child knows how to complete the task. The learning rests solely on your child.

Employ these suggested homework tips for parents and homework will not only be a fun-filled word but a fun-filled experience too.

Be on the lookout for my next article which attempts to define the true meaning of the word - 'Education'.

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