Homework has many benefits. Home assignments can empower children, as this Finnish study* found that children were better at homework when left to do it alone. In fact, 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 and will atrophy!
Help and guidance
Help your pupils or child by talking about the task to be done. Make sure pupils understand. In addition, help your child by organizing and setting time aside for homework. Then leave them to get on with it because 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 their homework, avoid shouting, forcing, and creating a bad atmosphere. Permanent tension surrounding school work can create a negative association with learning.
I suggest using non-violent communication techniques, like those of the late Dr. Marshall Rosenberg with his giraffe and jackal puppets, 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. “You 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 request. “Can you do your homework before 6 o’clock?” The answer to this is either yes or no, and a child is allowed to decline. However, if the answer is no, there must be a consequence, such as: OK, well, in that case, there will be no television and no music in your room this evening. Rather than giving orders, you empower your child or pupil to choose between the task or the consequences resulting from that choice. Learning to choose wisely is an essential lesson for life since everything we do or say has an impact or consequence.
Work and play
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. Please expose your child to sport, music, games, imaginary play, story-telling, drama, art, manual crafts, poetry, etc. They should enjoy the richness of life, and not just endless spelling and arithmetic.
See my blog post for more on homework and helping a child learn English fast.
This blog has great tips on how to motivate a child to do homework.
*Research: *Research by Assoc Prof Jaana Viljaranta, University of Eastern Finland