Learning at Home

Homework hacks to make homework time more fun

Love it hate it ones things for sure, homework, much like death and taxes will be a part of your life if you have a child studying primary maths at school. It can be tough for both parents and kids to get the homework done every night – but it doesn’t need to be. Read on as I look at practical ways to help everyone get the homework done and dusted in record time.

Stand up. Studies have shown that standing is much healthier, increases productivity and energy levels in office workers, so kids will also benefit. A high table or kitchen bench will work well and help them to stay alert. Another thing to look out for is to check your childs pencil grip to make sure they are holding the pencil correctly. Incorrect position can cause damage and inefficient handwriting looks messy. Ask your child to try holding a tissue as well as their pencil – it works like a charm to get their fingers in the correct position.

On the other hand maybe give the pencil a break as some kids respond well to on-screen applications and maths activities to help them with their homework. Kids these days use tablets to play games, socialise and research information for school projects, so why not include them at homework time. Indeed, many teachers are now including online maths resources in their maths lesson plans to integrate technology and keep kids engaged. Make sure you set times and guidelines around screen use though and check that they are only using the device for the task at hand – rather than facebook.

Making homework a part of everyday life is also great for kids and illustrates actual real world uses for key concepts they are learning at school. For example, when you are at the supermarket, you can try working on addition mental strategies or multiplication mental strategies by asking your child to help add up the shopping list or work out how much 10 packets of muesli bars will cost if one pack costs $5.50, or how much 500g of prawns will cost at $38.00/kg. These are excellent ways to enhance the enjoyment of learning as well as teaching kids valuable life skills in the process.

Further to this, you can try doing your own “homework” sitting or standing beside your child. Lets face it, we normally have list things we should be working on ourselves or organising (even if it is researching where to go on holidays). Your child will feel less isolated if you are next to them, but don’t turn into the “hover parent”, constantly asking how they are going, just let them get on with their own work you with yours. When they do have questions, you are right there beside them and can help right away which can help with keeping your child focused on their maths problem solving.


Starting School – Tips for making the transition

Starting school can be just as nerve racking for parents as it is for kids. School will become a major part of their lives for about 12 years, so easing them into this new reality takes some patience on all sides. I have listed some of my tips to make the transitions as smooth as possible and help your child thrive at school.

You can prepare your child well by spending time talking about what to expect in the weeks leading up the start of the school year. As they say, one of the biggest fears most people have, is the fear of the unknown, so explaining what they will be learning and how school structures work can help to ease this fear. Ask them also if they have any questions about school or particular things they are scared of.

As a general rule, you should be reading to your child every night from birth, so don’t stop when they start school, instead actively encourage reading as this promotes brain activity which is beneficial to all subject areas. You can also provide fun additional learning opportunities at home such as incorporating practical maths activities and maths problem solving into everyday activities such as cooking or shopping – ask your child to help measure out ingredients for the evening meal or add up the shopping list themselves. If you are stuck for ideas, there are a host of great maths resources to be found online that work on reinforcing key concepts such as addition mental strategies and multiplication mental strategies.

Incorporating lots of extracurricular activities into your child’s life that include play can also really help. Having their friends come around after school and playing as all kids should, can ease their stress and also help them to formulate ways to resolve conflicts which may arise at school. Ensure you encourage the use of manners and respecting the wishes of others in these play times to help your child prepare for school yard issues that may arise.

Homework can be a flash point for many parents as homework levels increase. Helping your child with their homework is a must for all parents of primary maths students. Teachers often incorporate homework into their maths teaching plans to reinforce what the student has learnt in the classroom, so make sure your child completes it every day. If they are unsure of certain areas, you can also encourage them to investigate further using various additional maths resources that they can engage with in a relaxed environment.