Homework is a chore for most children and can be the cause of friction between parents and their youngsters. While very few will enjoy these out of hours extras, homework is important for parent and child - not only does it reinforce school time learning for children, it also allows parents to see for themselves how their little one is progressing.
If you find it is increasingly difficult to get your child to knuckle down, here are some tips and resources that could help ease the tension.
Check it out
Increasingly busy work and home lives mean many parents are stressed and hectic when they finally make it home. But it's very important that you check early on exactly what homework your child has. That way you can help them to avoid rushing through it at the last minute, particularly at the weekend, when there may be more in-depth projects to complete.
Build a routine
Many children have a busy schedule of after-school activities these days, but if it's possible to set a regular time when they knuckle down to their homework and get them into the habit, they are less likely to kick up a huge fuss. Plus, you can work relaxation, playtime, and your own day-to-day chores around it.
Set them up
Picture the scene - your son or daughter heads off to do their homework, 20 minutes later they've wandered off in search of a pen or text book that they've mislaid, only to be distracted by something far more interesting. Sound familiar? If it does, then making sure they've got everything they need before they start will undoubtedly reduce the risk of delay tactics. In order to get the most out of their homework (and get it done more efficiently and quickly) ensure that your child has a quiet place to work, preferably at a table or desk, has everything they need for the task and is far removed from the TV!
If you have time to sit down and help your little ones with their homework, it's essential to build their confidence. When they get a question right, praise them - if they get a question wrong, suggest that you try and find or work out the answer together. If in doubt, find out from their teacher how solutions to particular problems are taught so you are not undermining what they learn in the classroom.
With primary school age kids, making homework into a game is a great way to make learning fun. Manda Barnes, Director of Curriculum at tuition specialists TLC Education, suggests practising spellings in the car or playing the 'number bond' game, where both you and the child will match pairs of numbers to make up a specified total sum.
Make use of external resources
If your little one is having trouble at school or with their homework, it may be that a little extra tuition will give them the confidence they need to progress. If you can afford the expense, a private tutor can help your child with any areas they find particularly difficult. Try asking other parents if they can recommend someone, and always ask to see proof of qualifications and CRB checks.
Alternatively, a growing number of learning centres are springing up in the UK. Explore Learning, for instance, has tuition centres across the country. Children sign up as members and attend sessions once or twice a week - and since they are open seven days a week and there's no need to book in advance, you can fit the sessions around your busy routine.
Then there's the Internet, which is awash with excellent educational games, quizzes and help for kids of all ages. The BBC's schools website, for example, is an outstanding resource that includes educational video clips, games and activities for kids of all ages, as well as Bitesize, which breaks subjects down into smaller sections to make revision and learning easier.
Another impressive online resource is Homework Elephant, which features plenty of curriculum related material for each subject, enables kids to ask questions of 'Agony Elephant', and provides hints and tips on how to cope with homework.
Your child may not find homework fun but with a little help and encouragement, it can at least be as pain-free as possible.
Does your child struggle with homework? Let us know your tips for helping them through it below...