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Having a homework system can help to engage with your children after school. However, not every parent agrees with the concept of homework.
How does it roll in our house? Well I have three children, and they are as different as they come...
Managing the three children's needs is a little mind boggling I have to say the least.
What I am advising isn't the "right" way, it's just the way I have approached this challenge in our home.
First and foremost, as the parent you need to understand what the school states is needed. Is it just daily reading? Is it reading, spellings and maths? Is it a set amount of homework or a homework project per term.
With the infant / junior school that my children have attended the amount of homework has varied. So when you meet on parents evening...
In my experience make sure you know what is needed and by when. I found with my reluctant child, spelling tests were being completed midweek, and we hadn't always had a chance to practice them before then. Knowing this allows you to adjust your homework system to accommodate.
Our homework system is viewed over a week and a term. The reason for this is partly due to my work schedule and when the children's homework is due. So those in Junior school it looks like this...
The reading we do when we get in from school. For my eager child this is not a problem, and they are ready and waiting.
For my reluctant child, we have motivated this by giving pocket money for completing the work. Currently this is either 10p per page, or a £1 for the whole book. This is currently working, and my non-read of last year, now reads at least 3 times per week. It isn't the 5 that the school would like, but it is more than not at all.
What has also happened, is they are finding other books/materials that they do not mind reading. I have said I don't care, if it is the instructions for the cook, a recipe, or War & Peace, as long as they are reading something that is all that matters.
So my word of advice on this is be relaxed on your approach, choose your battles wisely.
This is probably the biggest "win" as a parent I have discovered, is an online tool to help with Maths & English. The package covers from Reception year, all the way to Year 13. The cost is manageable and buildable dependent on your family's need.
The other factor I find really supportive is this is for independent study... so for my eager child it is an absolute godsend.
The program is IXL, they describe themselves here...
So what motivates the children?
The fact that there is a reward structure, collecting animals or virtual toys. In real time, they also receive certificates that they can print off and take into school to show their teachers.
For Secondary school the homework system is taken a step further. An online diary management system means that parents and students alike, can view the child's homework.
I actively encourage my additional needs child to concentrate on doing her homework the day it is set. I found this the most useful way of managing the homework. Homework is a shock to their system, as in Infants/Juniors, it was all a very real struggle that she did not cope with.
As a parent I do the following...
As this child is now in year 8, we have successfully gone through one year, and tweaked the routine, to build a successful homework system.