Getting involved with your children and figuring out how to get kids to do homework can be a struggle. But there’s no reason it needs to be!
As a foster parent, you can play an active role in encouraging homework which in turn will help your child with their education path. Younger children will need different guidance with their homework than older children, and providing homework tips can build your relationship. Homework is a great way for you to identify your child’s areas of strength, where they need some help, and to understand more about their progress.
Prepare the space
● Create a positive work area – set up a comfortable workspace for your child and make it inviting. Little adjustments to suit them and their individual needs will work well – like making sure the chair is comfortable and the right height. Good lighting is also helpful- don’t strain your eyes! Make sure they have everything they need – such as a laptop to work on and pencils, pens, books or paper for making notes.
● Distractions – if there is an option to set up a desk in a communal area of the house such as the kitchen, this can help discussions between you and your child – making it easier to get involved without it feeling like an intrusion. It is a good idea to arrange their homework desk away from the TV and any digital devices or toys. Removing distractions will help them focus – including noisy siblings.
● Supervising – set a time for your child to complete their homework – give them enough time but be firm when it comes to making sure they are finishing their tasks. Helping to build a routine will get them into good habits. They will be less likely to protest if they know they are expected to do their homework at set times.
● Be fair – while you may feel that your child could do with more time to do homework at weekends, children need playtime just as much as they need to study. The chance to enjoy non-school related activities is as important for their personal growth and development as school and study.
● Getting homework finished – be clear that you expect any homework set by their teachers to be completed.
● Getting things wrong – remember that it’s okay to to make mistakes and for answers to sometimes be wrong. Giving your child the right answer won’t help them in the long run. It also won’t help their teacher to see where they are struggling and where they are achieving.
● Problem topics – if your child doesn’t understand parts of a subject, this is a great way for you to spot problem areas or as a way of highlighting issues to the teacher, so that extra help can be arranged if needed.
● Planning – for older children with a heavier workload, you might like to create a homework diary together, so that both you and your child can be on top of their deadlines. This can also help a child to learn to manage their own time without leaving everything to the last minute – a skill they will need for life.
● Be present – checking in with your child to see how they are doing, and gently asking if they need your input is reassuring. Avoid using a red pen to highlight mistakes – it’s neither positive nor encouraging!
Some useful links for parents on homework:
● Discover online tips from the experts in child education, Hodder Education.
● Find helpful advice from real teachers at Teacher Toolkit.
● Family Lives has information on how to successfully create a homework routine.
● Our Education Team has put together a handy resource list that could help with homework planning.
When you become a foster carer with Compass Fostering, you will be supported every step of the way. We provide training, resources and a supportive community to help you become a confident carer – get in touch to find out more.