How to organise your Homework Session
Advice for Parents
At our most recent parent-teacher meeting held in February 2010, a large number of parents sought advice as to how they might organise and structure a Homework Session for their child, so that he/she could avail of the opportunity to make the greatest progress possible. With this in mind, we on staff, have gone to great lengths to produce a list of hints and tips that you may find useful. Naturally you will find that not all of the advice given may suit your own particular situation. However, if you can take something from the list that might work in your own home situation, then by all means take the advice on board and see if it makes any difference to your child’s educational development.
- Where possible, homework should be done in a quiet room, free from interruptions such as T.V., small children and visitors. Pencils and books etc. should be prepared in this room beforehand so that the child will not be distracted by having to search for them later.
- An appropriate work-space within this room is advised. A comfortable table and chair is considered most important.
- Both you and your child should agree upon a uniform starting time for when the Homework Session commences. Every effort should be made to ensure that this starting time is adhered to consistently and without fail each day. It is important that ample time be given to the child after school to get some fresh air and have some leisure time before the Homework Session begins. While every household has its own particular routine and recognising the fact that what suits one situation may not necessarily suit another, we would suggest a starting time between the hours of 4:30pm. to 5:30pm. as being most appropriate. (Any starting time after this may be considered rather late).
- At the start of every Homework Session we advise both you and your child to glance down along the Homework Programme for the evening as it appears in the child’s Homework Diary. Then you can plan out what has to be done and in what particular order. The child can then be set to work.
- Try to make yourself readily available to your child while the Homework Session is actually in progress, so that you can offer help, advice and re-assurance on what is being done.
- Some children in senior classes who portray a short attention span may have difficulty working on a task over any great length of time. In this instance, you may also make provision for a break in the Homework Session half-way through so that he/she may re-charge the batteries a little. Should you both agree to this arrangement, then we strongly advise that the child stops and re-starts strictly on time. A break of no more than 20 minutes to a half hour is most appropriate e.g. Sixth Class ….Start 5:30pm … Break 6:00 pm ……. Re-start 6:30pm ….. Finish 7:00pm. Such a break would not be considered at the Junior end as the Homework Session is not all that long in duration.
- Once Homework has been completed, both you and your child might appraise the work that has been done and check it off against the programme written in the Homework Diary. When you are happy that all the work has been carefully completed, you as a parent should then sign/date both the Homework Diary and the Homework Copy. (On occasion the same procedure would stand for any work done in a workbook)
- We strongly advise that you make yourself available to listen to your child reading out loud for at least 5 – 10 minutes every night, even at weekends. Obviously this reading will, for the most part, be assigned from the child’s textbooks. However, it has been proven that children derive great confidence from reading parts of their school library books to their parents and, as such, we highly recommend that you take an active part in this practice at some point in the evening. It would be most beneficial if you could encourage your child to bring a book to bed with him/her each night. The earlier this habit is initiated, the better. For the very young child it is important to have Mum or Dad read a story before going off to sleep. As the child gets older, the reading could be shared between parent and the child himself / herself. Of course the aim of all this is that we could help create a confident reader, who by Sixth Class is well capable of reading silently for 15 – 20 minutes in bed every night before switching off the light to go asleep. Your interest and commitment to such a venture on a continuous basis can only benefit your child.
- Where a child is absent from school for a long period of time through sickness etc the school would like to advise parents to contact the relevant class teacher so that a programme of work can be drawn up for the absentee.
- If at any stage you need to make something known to your class teacher, please feel free to write a brief note in either the child’s Homework copy or else in the section set aside for parent’s comments at the end of each weekly section in the Homework Diary.
Obviously the above points portray an ideal situation which may not be workable in every home. It is entirely up to yourself to see what works for you. Above all else, please remember that the child who has a little interest shown in him or her will perform much better. Homework is one area where you can obviously help.