Helping at Home

As parents and carers you are your child's most influential teacher with an important part to play in helping your child with their learning.

Homework is an important part of learning. When you support your children's homework routine, you can help them do better at school. Here are some simple tips to help get the most out of their homework.

TIPS FOR HOMEWORK

1.      A routine is good.

2.      Give space for homework. Try to create a quiet space where your child can concentrate on schoolwork away from distractions like TV, music and other people.

3.      Practice makes perfect. Repetition reinforces learning. That's why it's a good idea to practice reading, writing and maths with you every day.

4.      "How was your day?" Every school day is an adventure and children like to tell someone all about it. So take a few moments every day to chat about the school day.

5.      Check occasionally. When children do their homework on their own, their concentration can often wander. Check in once in a while and see how it's going, sometimes just talking about a homework problem helps the child to figure out the answer.

6.      Turn everyday activities into homework. Teachers give homework and so can you! Include children in everyday tasks and activities such as searching newspapers, reading recipes, writing shopping lists, plotting out routes on a map, etc. Small activities can often teach big lessons.

7.      Be positive and make children proud of their effort. Make it a habit to sit down and go over homework together. Always look for something positive. At the end of every homework session, try letting your child know how well they’ve done. Celebrate achievements, no matter how small.

8.      Encourage curiosity and questions. Learning really begins when kids start asking questions. Who, what, where, when and why are magical words of discovery that make learning more interesting and fun. Turn everyday events into learning opportunities and encourage children to explore the world around them, asking questions and making connections.

9.      Know what's going on at school. Unfortunately, children don't always tell parents everything so ask your child about what they’ve been learning in school. Have a go at letting them teach you what they learned in school — putting the lesson into their own words will help them retain what was learned.

10.  Point out the new things you learn with enthusiasm. Discuss the different ways you find new information, whether you're looking for gardening tips on the Internet or taking an evening class.

HELPING WITH READING

  • Let your child know how important reading is to you by having lots of different printed materials at home: books, newspapers, even posters and placemats with words on them.  
  • Remember children need to experience a variety of reading materials eg. Picture books, hard backs, comics, magazines, poems, and information books.

TIPS FOR READING AT HOME

1.      Choose a quiet time - Set aside a quiet time with no distractions.

2.      Make reading enjoyable - Make reading an enjoyable experience. Sit with your child. Try not to pressurise if he or she is reluctant. If your child loses interest then do something else. Take turns reading with your older child, or establish a family reading time when everyone reads their own book.

3.      Maintain the flow - If your child makes a mistake do not interrupt immediately. Instead allow them a chance to self-correct. It is better to tell a child some unknown words to maintain the flow rather than insisting on trying to build them all up from the sounds of the letters.

4.      Be positive- Success is the key - If your child says something nearly right to start with that is fine. Don't say 'No. That's wrong,' but 'Let's read it together' and point to the words as you say them. Boost your child's confidence with constant praise for even the smallest achievement. Until your child has built up his or her confidence, it is better to keep to easier books. Struggling with a book with many unknown words is pointless.

5.      Visit the Library - Encourage your child to use the public library regularly.

6.      Regular practice - Try to read with your child on most school days. 'Little and often' is best.

7.      Communicate - Your child has a reading diary from school. Try to communicate regularly with positive comments and any concerns. Your child will then know that you are interested in their progress and that you value reading.

8.      Talk about the books - There is more to being a good reader than just being able to read the words accurately. Just as important is being able to understand what has been read. Always talk to your child about the book; about the pictures, the characters, how they think the story will end and their favourite part. You will then be able to see how well they have understood and you will help them to develop good comprehension skills.