This post is sponsored by Westpac, who is proud to offer Mathspace Essentials free for all Australians
Apart from reading, an occasional project or quick task, for the most part we haven’t had to deal with nightly homework in primary school. But high school is a whole different story!
I admit, I was a bit worried how my kids would manage going from pretty much no homework in primary school, to the expectations of high school homework! I was also worried about how we parents would manage. Would it be a constant battle to get them to do homework? How would we juggle it around other commitments? How would we help if they needed it?
But I am pleased (and very relieved) to say that we have managed this new world of high school homework really well! And thanks to a nifty little program called Mathspace we are even doing ok with the dreaded maths homework! (Scroll to the end of this post to find out how you can get Mathspace for free and check out our video)
There have been a few rough moments along the way, but we’ve learned a lot and picked up a few great tips to help kids manage homework.
6 Ways to Help Kids Manage Homework Without the Hassles.
Encourage them to find a routine that works for them.
Getting into a good homework routine helps a lot, but it might take a little while and a bit of trial and error to figure out what works best. There is no ‘one size fits all’ rule for this. Some kids might need encouragement and suggestions to get a routine happening, but be open to individual needs and differences and let them try out different things to see what works best for them.
Is it better for them to do homework as soon as they get home from school? Or are they more productive if they take some time to chill out or do something active before they start? Whatever you decide don’t forget to feed them, it’s hard to concentrate when you are hungry and thirsty!
Help them organise their stuff.
Making sure you bring the right book home from school so you can actually do your homework is something my kids have learned the hard way! So working out a routine to check what they need for homework before they leave school is a good idea.
Once they are home, don’t waste time hunting around for the things you need. Have a supply of pencils, erasers, pens, a ruler, and other things they use regularly that are just used for homework, or setting up a homework caddy like this may help.
Find a homework friendly space.
Do your kids need silence and solitude, or will they work better if you are nearby for support? Help kids learn what a good homework space is, and what works for them.
Homework doesn’t always have to be done sitting at a desk. Feel free to change up the study space – lie on your bed, sit on the floor, take it outside. Some kids work well with background music but screens are usually a big no-no. If your child needs to use a computer or tablet for their homework but finds it hard to stay away from other online temptation, look into an app or software that will block websites and other apps for periods of time to help eliminate distractions.
Teach them how to organise their time.
Managing homework around after school activities and family obligations, as well as having time to just chill out and relax, is probably the most important thing our kids have learned when it comes to homework.
Teaching kids time management is an important life skill, plus it makes managing homework a lot easier!
- Teach your kids how to keep track of their homework, how to prioritise their time, and how to manage deadlines. Show them how to set up processes to help them keep on top of this stuff and how to use a diary or check out our free printable homework planner below.
- Teach them how to break up big tasks into smaller chunks, and make a plan for completing them so they are not so overwhelming.
- Teach your kids how to add ‘study time’ and revision into their routine. If they know they have a test coming up encourage them to find ways to work on that subject even if they have no specific homework set. Even 15 minutes spent re-reading a text or practising maths skills on Mathspace will make a difference when the exam rolls around.
This printable is an A4 sized pdf file, you will need a pdf reader such as adobe acrobat to open it. If you are printing on US ‘letter sized’ paper be sure to select ‘fit’ or ‘shrink to fit’ from your printer options.
Please remember that the printables at picklebums.com are for personal use only, you may not sell, share, or link directly to these files.
Know how, and when, to help.
In my experience, the most common reason that homework turns into a major hassle is when kids are struggling with something. Maybe they don’t understand the task, or they just can’t wrap their head around a concept, whatever it is, when they are confused, or unsure, stress levels go through the roof and homework becomes hell on earth.
To avoid the stress, teach your kids that it is ok to ask for help, and make sure your kids (and you) know what to do if they get stuck. Can they email the teacher? Call a friend? What can you help them with? Can they go into school early for some help? Is there extra work they can do, or other ways to practice areas they find difficult?
As a parent it can be tricky to know how to best help with homework. If it’s a subject area that you are not confident in, or you are not sure how it is being taught, then get in touch with the teacher, or find some resources to help you both.
Maths is often an area that parents find tricky. Even if you are confident with your maths skills, knowing how to explain it can be daunting.
Mathspace is a great option in this situation. The great thing about Mathspace is that you can pick the curriculum for your state and child’s grade level, so you know your kids are working on the same things they are working on at school.
Leave them to it
Our goals is for the kids to take responsibility for their homework. We will support them to get homework done, but it’s their job to make sure it is done, or face the consequences.
I aim to check in, but not to nag. A simple ‘have you got any homework today?’ is usually enough to get my kids talking about what tasks they have to complete and when they plan to do them. I can find out if there is anything we need to do to help them (Has anyone else done a late night dash to the shops to get poster paper?) and help them work out a plan if they are feeling overwhelmed.
And then I leave them to it.
I know it’s not always easy to walk away, especially if your kids are struggling, or you know they are not doing the work, but letting them struggle a little now, or even fail, will help them learn to manage things better than any nagging you can do.
If maths homework is becoming a hassle at your place, try Mathspace.
A lot of us parents find maths a bit daunting. Even if we are good at maths, most of us wouldn’t feel confident helping with high school maths homework. Thankfully Mathspace makes that a whole lot easier.
You can use Mathspace on all devices, all you need is an internet connection and an email address. It has very cool handwriting recognition built in and my kids think it is really cool how it is with your finger writing on the tablet.
Mathspace covers curriculum from grade 3 to year 12, and you can easily choose the curriculum for your state and grade level.
Mathspace explains the concept first with videos and examples and then there are sets of questions for each section. There are specific hints targeted to the problem you are working so it’s easy to get help if you are stuck, and it has adaptive learning so it will give you more of the problems you are struggling with and less of the things you can do well.
It’s easy to navigate and really easy to use, and it makes helping your kids with maths a whole heap easier!
Check out this quick video of my kids using Mathspace to see these features in action…
Try Mathspace Free.
Because Westpac know there is a strong link between numerical literacy and financial literacy, and because maths and other STEM subjects are crucial skills to prepare young Australians for jobs in the future, they are offering Mathspace Essentials for free to all Australians.
To try Mathspace Essentials simply visit the website or download the app and create an account. Then all you need to do is choose a curriculum and a grade level and you are good to go.
Do your kids have homework each night?
How much homework do your kids get?
Does it ever turn into a hassle?
How do you manage it?
Leave a comment below and share your ideas to help kids manage homework.