Homework empowers children

child doing homework alone
23 May Shelley Vernon No Comments

A Finnish study* found that children were better at homework when left to do it alone. Over-assisting your pupil or child may be detrimental. It's like walking with a crutch, even when your leg is healed. Your leg muscles won't develop!


Help your pupils or child by talking about the task to be done. Make sure pupils understand. Help your child be organized and supervise the time set aside for homework. Then leave them to get on with it. It's empowering to achieve something by yourself. It's good for confidence and self-esteem.


Tension around homework

If your child refuses to do his or her homework, avoid shouting, forcing and creating a bad atmosphere. Permanent tension surrounding homework can create a negative association to learning.


I suggest using non-violent communication techniques, rather than threats, to encourage your child or pupil to take responsibility. I'm not an expert in this but it's something like: 1. Make an objective, neutral statement. "Your have homework this evening." 2. Say how it makes you feel. "It upsets me when you don't do your homework." 3. Express your need. "I need to be reassured that you keep up with the class at school." 4. Make a requset. "Can you do your homework before 6 o'clock?" (Yes / No)  If the answer is no, there is a consequence, such as: OK, well in that case, there will be no television and no music in your room this evening. Here you are giving your child or pupil power, the power to choose, and consequences as a result of that choice. This is an important lesson for life since everything that we do or say has a consequence.

Dr. Marshall Rosenberg with his giraffe and jackal puppets

My personal view is that homework and home study should not go on endlessly to the detriment of play and home life. Living in balance is an important skill to learn. Your child should be exposed to sport, music, games, imaginary play, story-telling, drama, art, manual skills, poetry...etc. He or she should enjoy the richness of life, not just endless spelling and arithmetic.


See my blog post for more on homework and helping a child learn English fast.


*Research: *Research by Assoc Prof Jaana Viljaranta, University of Eastern Finland

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