“I can't wait to do my homework!” said nobody, ever. Unfortunately, like doing chores and paying the bills, homework is an integral part of every parent’s life, but you can make it less of a burden and more fun for everyone involved.
Former Foundation Phase teacher Mart Meij has compiled some wonderful resources in the form of the New All-In-One series (Life Skills, Spelling and Maths), starting from preschool to Grade 3. The activity books introduces and reinforces learning content with colour illustrations, activities and assessments.
The best part is that your kids learn through play. Shop the full series on loot.co.za.
The Help For Homework Times Tables (also available on loot.co.za) is a handy tool. It contains a list of all the times tables, plus topical number facts and questions.
Most kids are turning to technology to help ease them into the homework routine, and app developers are eager to oblige.
CalcMadeEasy (iOS, free) has been touted as one of the best calculators for iOS devices.
It comes with a scientific calculator and notepad with automatic note-taking capability. For children learning a second language, iTranslate (iOS, Android, Kindle Fire, Windows) translates more than 100 languages.
Class assignments and projects are made easy with Google Slides. Download the app and access, create and edit your presentations - even when there’s no internet connection.
The Photomath app reads and solves maths problems with clear, step-by-step instructions.
Enquiring minds need a mental boost. Paediatric dietitian Lindsay Archibald-Durham says: “Children should follow a balanced, varied diet including fruits, vegetables, protein, fat and complex carbohydrates. Sustaining adequate levels of glucose throughout the day and minimising fluctuations between meals contribute towards optimising cognition and reducing slumps in energy.
“This can be achieved by avoiding sugars and refined carbohydrates; choosing wholegrain complex carbohydrates combined with protein and healthy fats.”
Oxford Learning says growing brains are more active in the morning. Start a routine by getting your child to open a textbook or learn something new after a good night’s sleep and a nutritious breakfast.
Dr Harris Cooper, a professor of psychology at Duke University, North Carolina, recently completed a homework study involving about 700 primary school learners, their parents and teachers. Most educators agreed that children from grades 1 to 3 should be doing 10 to 30 minutes of homework at night.
“The goal of homework at this age should be to help kids develop good study habits and feel successful,” he said.
For good study habits, Cindy Glass, the co-founder of Step Up Education Centres, suggests:
Create a fun workplace
Have a desk, comfortable chair and the necessary stationery. Make the space beautiful - display art or any awards/reward charts to keep your child motivated.
Switch off all distractions
If you are a learner, let your friends know you will be unavailable for that period. If you are a parent, switch your phone on silent as device noises can be distracting.
Be clear on what needs doing
Use a whiteboard to list the tasks that need to be completed on that day. Start with the easy tasks as this will give your child an immediate sense of achievement. For older learners who have longer assignments decide which part of each will be completed on that day. Tick off each task as you complete it.
Get extra help
If your child is struggling, seek professional help from an after-school remediation centre.
Remember, your child is not always going to feel okay about doing homework. Whenever this happens, Glass suggests you incorporate what she calls the “10-minute rule”.
“The first 10 minutes of anything is the worst. Get through those 10 minutes and you will find that the work will flow more easily and they will begin to enjoy the feeling of accomplishment.”