The mere mention of the word homework is enough to make most parents shudder. Whether it is from the memory of the battles we had with our own parents or the stress from the daily nagging that is our present experience, homework can be enough to bring on the need for a visit to the hairdresser and a request for a grey coverup! So what should you expect from your child’s school? Well, unfortunately there is no blanket rule for homework across Australia but here is a rough guide. Kindergarten / Prep students should be reading each evening from a home reader. They may also have some sight words to revise. Years 1 – 4 may have approx 20 minutes each night to complete. Usually it will consist of a home reader, some basic literacy and numeracy work and maybe some work on a topic they are studying in class. Sometimes they may have work to prepare, such as a topic talk. In Years 5 – 6 you should expect about 30 minutes each night. It will be similar in nature to Years 1-4 but a little harder. Homework should not include new topics or ideas that they haven’t yet covered in class. It should be revision of work and fairly basic. Here are 5 tips to ensure that you help the process be what it should be – beneficial to their learning and their enjoyment of it.
Set aside a time to complete homework, whatever works for your family is perfect.
Let the kids have some time out, ideally a play outside and something to eat first so that it is easier to settle and concentrate.
Let the teacher know if it is becoming a burden. Your child may need their own homework programme. The teacher isn’t a fly on the wall (thank goodness!); let them know what is going on, both in terms of the time spent and the difficulty level. If your child is flying through it then they may need harder work.
It is a good way for you to become familiar with what they are learning in the classroom. If they are currently bringing home work to do with TIME, for the next couple of weeks you could ask them randomly if they can tell you the time from the clock. This is incidental learning and really beneficial!
My personal opinion is that READING is THE most important thing to do after school hours. Listen to your child read, ask them questions about what they have read and read with them whenever you can Praise your child on their achievements, their progress and when they complete it. Give yourselves a high five! It isn’t always easy but it shouldn’t be a battle either.
This piece was originally written for Kidspot as part of their Bright Buddies series, sponsored by Kelloggs.