Facilitating your Child's Homework
Supervising homework is a task that many families ‘outsource’ to either the school (homework classes) or a homework teacher. However, helping your Child with their homework is a great way of bonding and spending quality time with your Child. When you are available at the time your Child does their homework it is definitely worthwhile to be part of the action and become your Child’s Homework Facilitator.
First, what is a Facilitator?
The word ‘facilitator’ comes from ‘facile’ which is French for ‘easy’. In other words: a Facilitator is someone who makes things easy. That implies that the Facilitator is not carrying out the task themselves; they rather create conditions for those who do the work to do it in the easiest, most effective way.
So, how can you ‘facilitate’ your Child’s homework? Here are a few suggestions:
1. A bit of relaxation first
School days are quite long and children may be tired by the time they reach home. If their commute schedule allows enough time, let your Child relax a bit before starting on their homework. Some outdoor play, a simple chore or a creative activity may help the Child’s mind to rest and become ready for the next cognitive effort.
2. Sit well
Make sure your Child is seated well. For writing and drawing, provide a table and chair that match your Child’s length and allows him/her to sit in an easy posture. This prevents early tiredness and is important for a Child’s physical growth and well-being.
3. No distractions
Provide a place without distractions. You can imagine that a Child who does their homework close to a playing TV may not be able to concentrate well. The same goes for a window that looks out on a busy street, or a place in the house where there is a lot of activity, for example the kitchen.
4. Fresh air!
Consider creating an outdoor homework site. Many children spend most of their school-day indoors; enjoying some fresh, natural air can be refreshing and help brain activity.
When you work together with your Child, seat yourself next to him or her, not opposite. That way, you express ‘togetherness’ and not ‘opposition’. And it works much easier for when you guide your Child’s hand to write or draw something, or when you read together.
6. Check understanding
Let your Child explain to you what he/she has to do for a particular subject, as a way to check if they have understood the assignment well. Then allow them to start work, and monitor unobtrusively if they are on the right track.
7. Guided self-correction
When they are done with a task, run over it together and ask questions where you spot a mistake. Let your Child explain how he or she arrived at the answer, and guide them to see where they went wrong.
Help your Child to prioritise their homework assignments by ‘most difficult first’. This depends on your Child’s strengths and weaknesses in learning, as well as on their learning style preference. You can discuss together what your Child considers the toughest task and the easiest task, and agree on the sequence together.
And of course: don’t forget to give your Child a big ‘thumps up!’ anytime they are done with a task!
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