Helpful Homework Tips

I can’t quite believe it that the first term of Grade 1 has been and gone and we’re on to the second already… I am happy to report that the transition to BIG school has been a successful one and after the first few wobbles of adjusting to a much bigger “pond” and new routine I am now feeling a lot more comfortable with the whole “big school thing”. My son has been fine from day 1, obviously…

He has taken well to doing his homework and is still in the excited stage of learning to read (long may that last) and he had such a positive report which makes this mama’s heart very proud. We are in a good space but still so looking forward to the holidays. A little bit of down time is so nb to help to recharge for the new term but that doesn’t mean that learning has to end which is why I thought I’d share some of these helpful homework tips for kids which help2read has put together.

“Instilling a culture of learning in your children from a very young age is important and will stand them in good stead later on in life,” says Robert Michel, CEO of non-profit organisation help2read.

Learning is an on-going process and happens every day. We don’t just learn from reading or studying, we also learn from talking with others, observing the world around us and from just living our life.

Talk, talk, talk.
Your child can learn about the spoken word by listening to you. It might also be a good idea to give your child a word and ask them to construct a sentence; this will assist them with their grammar and also reveal their knowledge level and understanding. The great thing about talking is it happens all the time so your child can constantly pick up new words from you. Be aware of how you speak to your child and others because your kids can also learn or pick up behaviours from you.

Watch educational programmes.
Quiz them to see if they understood and have learned anything from the programme.

Play word games and puzzles.
A game that is fun and easy to play is ‘I spy with my little eye, something that begins with…’ Young children don’t always differentiate between ‘learning’ and ‘playing’. Playing can help broaden your kids’ knowledge without them being aware that they are even learning.

Install a love for reading.
Give your child books or magazines as presents. It is also a good idea to read with your child, doing it together will help you bond but also make them look forward to your reading sessions. If left to do it alone, the child might never get to read the books you bought.

“Homework is a crucial part of learning as it reinforces what your child has learnt at school. It empowers your child to read and think about the day’s lesson when they get home and it also shows teachers your child’s level of understanding,” says Michel.

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Here are top tips for helping your children with homework:

Instil a daily routine.
Set a convenient time for both of you when you are back from work to go through the day’s homework. It is important to make sure that your child tries doing the homework on their own first and you just check and assist where they are struggling.

Find a quiet area.
Do find a quiet place to use as a homework area at home, if you sit in the lounge switch off the TV so that you have your child’s full attention.

Try not to be too helpful.
If your child is struggling with something, don’t do it for them, sometimes trying to explain can also create confusion if you use a different method to the teacher. The best thing to do is to write a letter to the teacher and ask them to explain it again or if your child is in Grade 4 or older have him / her write the note or talk to the teacher. It’s important that he / she learns how to speak up.

Stay positive.

If you’re overly critical of their work, they’ll get discouraged. Remember that children can sense easily so try not to be upset or moody as this might discourage them. Focus on the effort or creativity rather than dwelling on every error.

Keep your child’s test timetable.
It is crucial to know when your child is writing tests and exams so as to help them prepare. Create your own timetable that will help you and your child cover all the subjects. Make sure that you have enough time allocated for each subject, and if your child has difficulty in one subject, make sure you allocate extra time to help them with that particular subject.

Chore is a bore.
Don’t let homework become a chore. Keep it fun and make it a special time that you both look forward to.

“The biggest motivator for a child is often as simple as knowing that their parent is involved in their life and is rooting for them to succeed,” says Michel.

Improving literacy in primary schools and inspiring a love and joy for reading is help2read’s vision. They have recently opened an office in Pretoria; the office will offer space for volunteer training in addition to the training sessions already being held at schools. This office will be a new base for the help2read Gauteng field staff as well as home to help2read’s CEO, Robert Michel, who spends time in the Cape Town and Gauteng offices. Funding remains one of the greatest challenges for help2read. Donations from sponsors, no matter how big or small, whether it is monetary, books or board games would be appreciated. If you would like to become a donor or volunteer, contact help2read on 021 685 8085 / 012 752 9984 or email [email protected] or [email protected] Visit www.help2read.org for more information.

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Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for almost 7 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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