In recent years there has been much debate in research and the media about the validity of homework in relation to student learning outcomes. At AIS, we take the approach that homework has different purposes according to the age and stage of the student.
Whatever the age or stage of the child, there are some strategies that can be employed at home to help them get the most out of homework.
1. Develop routines that work for your family and stick to them.
Life in Singapore is busy with many children having CCA and other commitments after school and on the weekend. In the younger years work with your child to plan and set the homework routines. Once you find a workable routine, stick with it as much as possible. Routine and structure help children to manage and organise their time. As children become older, there should be a gradual release of control, handing over the management of homework routines to your child. By the time your child reaches Secondary it is important for them to be able to organise and manage their own homework routines.
Whether or not your child starts studying immediately after school, encourage them to take a break during their allotted homework period. Encourage your child to eat a healthy snack or spend a few minutes doing something different so that they can return to their tasks refreshed. This can actually improve their ability to concentrate and think through any problems they have been set. Taking strategic breaks becomes increasingly important as the length of study increases in the Upper Elementary and Secondary years.
2. Craft a plan
Children of all ages can feel overwhelmed by homework if they don’t have a plan. Breaking homework down into smaller chunks is an important skill which can begin from Prep. In the Lower Elementary, parents can sit with their child and help them to assign a day or time for each task. As children progress through the Elementary, they should take greater responsibility for building the plan themselves. Older children, particularly those in Secondary, benefit from using a calendar or Student Organiser to plan out their homework across a week or fortnight.
3. Access and refer to task sheets and resources materials
At AIS the teachers take time and care to prepare homework tasks and resources. , many of which are posted on Connect. Whether your child is in Elementary or Secondary, it is important to encourage your child to refer back to the resources provided as they work through the task. Referring to the resources as they work, helps your child to best align their work to the requirements of the task.
4. Ask questions if you are unsure of what is required
If your child is confused or unsure about part of the homework it is fine for you to assist them. However, it is also important to encourage your child to ask the teacher to clarify when there are real challenges. Elementary students are encouraged to ask the teacher in person, while Secondary students may also email their teachers. Recognising when a task is hard and having the confidence to ask for assistance are important skills to develop as independent learners.
5. Work in a comfortable environment
Some kids love to work at a desk. Others will tell you that they do their best work when sprawled on the floor of their bedroom listening to music. Generally, however, it’s important that your child has a quiet and comfortable place to aid their concentration and build good home study habits, without distractions such as TV, gaming or other noisy activities.
6. Give ownership of the homework to your child
Children should complete their homework with increasing independence as they move through the school. From the earliest years it is important to give ownership of the homework to your child. In Elementary, encourage your child to complete the homework on their own, checking in with them from time to time. This check in might be in the moment, or later, when you come home from work. In Secondary…….