Terry and Tony in South Africa. Two South Africans working from home in East London in South Africa since early 2008.

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School Homework – How Much Help should you give Your Child?

How much help should you give your child with his school homework? Perhaps you enjoyed school, and now that your primary school child is getting more and more homework, and learning about so many different subjects that you found interesting years ago, you’re excited about getting involved with his homework. You do all his school homework for him.

Doing all of your child’s school homework, and getting involved, are two different aspects entirely. It his turn to be at school, not yours. You can, and should, offer guidance and help where needed, but should never take over completely.

If doing all school homework for your child, he is not going to learn how to do it on his own, and you can’t be in his class for lessons or write his tests and exams for him, or say his orals, so why not let him learn to manage all his school homework on his own as soon as possible?

Of course there will be questions your child will ask you, and you can help, but don’t take over completely.

Your part in helping with school homework should be all about:

ensuring he starts school homework on time, and not at the last minute;

offering input and ideas if you notice he’s not following the criteria set out in school messages by his teacher or in his homework book;

being a responsible parent by making sure your child goes to sleep at a reasonable time at night;

ensuring his meals are nutritious, particularly during the school week, and making certain that he drinks plenty of water;

making sure he has short breaks between sessions of homework and learning, does some exercise, and skips the odd extra mural activity if it’s interfering with how much time he gets to spend on his school work;

checking and signing his homework book daily, and writing any reminders for him, or notes or questions for the teacher in it;

providing access to resources for information for projects or orals, which may include a trip to the library, buying some books or encyclopaedias, or keeping some useful website addresses in a folder for when he needs to use the Internet for research;

creating and sticking up lists for him on the wall near his workspace, that may include step by step procedures to follow when he is doing projects, or learning for an oral or exam;

sticking up a calendar too, with blocks for each day for notes, so that both you and your child can use it to keep track of what’s coming up regards homework, so that you can be sure to not leave anything until the last minute, and also have plenty of time to gather or buy the materials that may be needed;

looking through his tests written and marked by his teacher, and advising to revise the sections he didn’t do well with;

listening to his orals, and asking him questions from his book once he has done some learning for that subject, and sending him away to learn it more if he is not able to answer too many questions the first time you ask him, then asking him the questions again later;

checking his stationery supply to make sure he doesn’t run out of any glue, pencils, or working sharpeners or scissors halfway through a project at 11pm at night when it’s due the next day!

It may be tempting to just do your child’s school homework at times, but don’t do it! He needs to learn to cope on his own.

© Copyright Teresa Schultz

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