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Five ways to improve your child's homework

Homework is a great opportunity to develop the correct working habits which will see your child through the next few years of their education.

As a Parent myself I know it can be a painful way of spending time with your child but it is vital to get it right at an early age so they are properly equipped to deal with the real challenges of university and the workplace.

As a general rule writing tasks should be drafted, edited and then copied out in neat for the teacher to review. Whilst the content might be subject specific, children should use a generic structure based on good quality sentence construction and, if appropriate, a sensible use of paragraphs.

Effective learning only occurs with good quality and timely feedback so if parents see mistakes you should highlight them for your child to correct (without doing it for them) prior to handing it in.

Tasks involving reading and writing will be more important in developing their ability to learn effectively over the years so these should be given extra attention at home. It is this key skill which really unlocks their ability to achieve in almost all other subjects so it needs to be a priority.

It can be difficult with older children to play much of a role in homework as they tend to want to keep it private but it is important that if the quality drops you feel confident to intervene. As a general rule questions usually require full sentence answers, paragraphs should have an opening point or reason plus two or three developmental sentences which explore whatever is being discussed in more detail. There is usually some kind of link sentence at the end to feed into the next body paragraph or concluding point.

All homework can be knocked off in minutes but the really successful children are the ones who take their time and do it well.

As a general guide the following 5 points are useful when helping your child complete their homework:

1) Support but avoid doing it for them

2) Children should draft and edit written work prior to handing it in

3) If in doubt, use a full sentence to answer a question

4) Paragraphs should have a Point with some Explanation and Analysis thrown in. (By the way, analysis sentences usually start with something like, 'This means that.....' or, 'This could be important because.....')

5) Prioritise homework at home, avoid children knocking it off in minutes

Thank you and good luck!

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