Learning can keep on going at home

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MOST teachers have experienced those moments when students come to school with homework or school projects that look like they are worthy of a Nobel prize.

Then there are those that look like a student gave it a pretty good shot. It is usually not hard to see which students had parental help.

The question is how much help is too much when it comes to homework?

The research tells us that parental engagement has a positive impact on student achievement.

Engagement is things like encouraging good study habits, having high expectations, being supportive of learning and asking questions. Engagement is not doing the homework for the child.

In many households, homework has become a stress point. Parents sometimes complain that homework can be too complex even for them!

Homework should never be designed to cause stress. We know that when children are stressed, they don’t learn effectively so it actually ends up doing more harm than good.

If homework is all about extending or consolidating learning, then we need to ask how valuable is it for students if they don’t enjoy or understand it.

Sadly, too many schools are not in the habit of personalising homework or simplifying it enough so that all students, regardless of where they are at, benefit.

Giving students a choice of what they work on at home may be more positive.

One alternative has been the Homework Grid developed by former school principal Dr Ian Lillico. It recognises that all children need a balance in the activities they undertake.

Valuable learning activities don’t just have to include “school work” but helping with chores, playing outdoors, listening to music with the family, helping with the shopping and so on.

Homework really needs to be about student-teacherparent collaboration. If it isn’t, then talk to your school and find out how tasks and activities can be modified to work at home, not just at school.