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Homework Tips


Below is the transcript of the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) In Focus article.

"What can parents do to help their children succeed in school?

  • Fifteen-year-old students whose parents often read books with them during their first year of primary school show markedly higher scores in PISA 2009 than students whose parents read with them infrequently or not at all.
  • The performance advantage among students whose parents read to them in their early school years is evident regardless of the family's socio0economic background.
  • Parents' engagement with their 15-year-olds is strongly associated with better performance in PISA

Most parents know, instinctively, that spending more time with their children and being actively involved in their education will give their children a good head-start in life. But, as many parents have to juggle competing demand at work and at home, there never seems to be enough time. Often, too, parents are reluctant to offer to help their children with school work because they feel they lack some of the skills that would make a difference to their children's success in school.

The good news coming from analyses of PISE data is that it does not require a PhD or unlimited hours for parents to make a difference. In fact, many parent-child activities that are associated with better reading performance among students involve relatively little time and no specialized knowledge. What these activities do demand, though, is genuine interest and active engagement.

Early involvement pays idends later….

The PISA 2009 assessment did not only gather data from students and school principals, but also addressed questions to the students' parents. Some of these questions focused on the kinds of activities parents did with their children when the children were in their first year of primary school; other questions concentrated on activities parents were engaged in with their children at the time of the PISA test, that is, when their children were 15 years old."

10 Tips to help your child with homework

Homework is an important part of learning. When you support your children's homework routine, you can help them do better at school. Here are some simple tips to help get the most out of their homework.

1. A routine is good. Homework can be habit forming and that's good news for you and your child. Work out a homework schedule and make sure children adhere to it. It won't be long before homework is complete without your getting involved.

2. Give space for homework. Distractions and homework don't mix. So do your best to create a bright and quiet space where your child can concentrate on schoolwork. Make sure it's away from distractions like TV, music and loud siblings.

3. Practice makes perfect. Repetition reinforces learning. That's why it's helpful to have kids practice reading, writing and math with you every day... even if the teacher didn't assign any. Ten to 15 minutes a day can work wonders, whether reading a favourite book together, or getting help measuring out ingredients in the kitchen.

4. "How was your day?" Every school day is an adventure. Kids will do and learn so much they'll be bursting to tell someone all about it. So take a few moments every day to chat about the school day—and be a good listener.

5. Check in occasionally. When kids do their homework all alone, their concentration can often wander. Check in once in a while and see how it's going. Ask if there are any questions. Sometimes kids just need to talk about a homework problem in order to figure out the answer.

6. Turn everyday activities into homework. Teachers give homework and so can you. Include children in everyday tasks and assign tasks such as searching newspapers, reading recipes, creating shopping lists, plotting out routes on a map, etc. Small activities can often teach big lessons.

7. Make kids proud of their effort. Getting the answers right is important, but it's only part of what homework is all about. Doing a thorough and neat job is important, too. Make it a habit to sit down and go over completed homework. Look at it together for thoroughness and overall quality of work. Always look for something positive in the work.

8. Motivate with applause. "Hey, you did a great job". Words like these have an amazing effect on children. Encouragement gives them confidence and makes them feel good about doing their best. At the end of every homework session, try letting your son or daughter know that you appreciate and admire their efforts.

9. Encourage curiosity and questions. Learning really begins when kids start asking questions. Who, what, where, when and why are magical words of discovery that make learning more interesting and fun. Give your children the confidence to ask for help if the homework is difficult or confusing.

10. Know what's going on at school. Unfortunately, kids don't always tell parents everything. Make it a point of staying in touch with teachers, especially if you have a question or concern. Let the teacher know that they can always call you if there is a problem.

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