Message from the Chaplain
With the end of term fast approaching and Term 4 upon us soon, bringing with it testing and exams, I thought this article from Cynthia Tobias would be relevant to us as parents at this stage of the year. Hope you get something out of it.
End the Homework Battle
By Cynthia Tobias
"Do you have any homework tonight?"
A simple question, yet it can spark what becomes a familiar argument throughout a child's school years.
Haggling over homework is nothing new (most parents can remember protesting their own responsibilities on school nights), but homework battles in the 21st century are aggravated by a culture flooded with technical distractions.
According to recent research, 97 percent of youth play video games; nearly three quarters of them have an online social networking profile, 91 percent have a cell phone; and the typical teen sends an average of 10 text messages an hour. Is it any wonder parents will repeatedly hear their children complain that homework is boring and pointless?
Even with the advent of computers in the classroom, formal education doesn't even come close to holding a student's attention like the competition. Fortunately, you don't have to be as tech-savvy as your kids to keep them engaged in their schoolwork. Even if the assignments are challenging, you can use these opportunities to help your children develop the skills and attitudes they'll need to be successful. You can get them thinking about the way they learn best, how they can motivate themselves and what it will take to succeed. You can teach them to be confident learners.
Let's take a quick look at two timeless techniques.
Ask more questions
Encourage your children to take responsibility for their success. Keep your questions brief and positive — and always assume the best. For example:
- Would you like my help?
- What grade do you want to earn?
- What do you think it would take to accomplish that grade?
- How will I know your homework is being done?
- How do you want to be reminded?
Help them design their individual study space.
Don't underestimate the importance of finding the right environment — even if it includes some elements that would make you uncomfortable if you were studying. Every child is going to be different. In our household, my son Mike usually did his homework at his desk in solitude, with no noise and no distractions. His brother, Rob, on the other hand, needed to be listening to music with headphones, lying on the floor with something to eat or drink and taking plenty of short breaks.
The most important question to ask yourself: What's the point? If the point is to get the homework done, let your child propose how he or she wants to do it, and simply require proof that it works.
I would like to encourage parents by thanking you all for the hard work you undertake throughout the school year. Never underestimate the part you play in your child’s development. You are truly amazing and I further remind you to look after yourself. Do something special for yourself now and then.
If you would like to talk about how you are feeling, then please contact me for a chat about the challenges that you are facing. It’s always good to talk things through with someone who will not judge or take any sides.
Please take care
Chaplain - Bellarine Campus