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Homework: how to get it done and get the most out of it

24 September 2019

In some households, homework can be a source of pressure. Some families are not used to getting homework and sometimes children just do not want to do it.  What can be done to improve things?

Positive attitude

Homework is an opportunity to teach children discipline and a good work ethic as well as find out what they have been learning in school.  If good habits can be formed early then your child will be self-motivated and capable of managing their workload when their studies get more demanding in the future.  First, make sure that everyone is in the right frame of mind. Some children might benefit from having half an hour of down time before they do homework.



The first and most important thing about homework is that it needs to be incorporated into the daily routine.  If it is done at the same time each day then your child will come to expect it and homework time should become less of a battle.  Experiment with timings to see what works best for your family.  Sometimes after-school activities mean that you can’t do homework at the same time but try to have a sense of routine.  If your child knows when the time to do homework is approaching, they may even begin to take ownership and tell you that it is time for homework.  This is the first step in raising a self-starter!


Make sure that the basics are taken care of first

Some children are hungry after school, some are tired. Find a time that they will be at their most receptive.  Have a place where homework is done each night – ideally a table or a desk.  Turn off TVs and music. Keep screens away.  Have a homework shelf/carry box/supply station filled with everything that you will need to do homework in one place. Pencils, paper, erasers etc. This will mean that that actual task of getting the homework done can happen sooner.


Point charts

Point charts can be a positive way to encourage homework and this also mirrors the house points and dojo points system that we use in our school. Homework that is done extra well and without fuss can get an extra point.  Rewarding good behavior is always a good way to encourage the same behavior again! 


Let your child do the homework themselves

When your child is given a project, try to let them come up with ideas.  How do you think you can do that? What can we use to make it? Ask questions to encourage them to come up with answers to problems. Resist the urge to do the homework your way or to lead a project yourself.  Your child learns most when they are allowed the chance to discover, make mistakes and reassess.


Homework basics

Know how much time you plan to spend on homework each day and be aware of your child’s age limitations. Young children cannot sit and concentrate for a long time so aim to keep sessions shorter for younger children.  If it is hard to get your child to sit down and do homework, start off by asking them to do just five minutes.  Once they get used to the five minutes, you can start to extend it a little.


Notes from our Lower School Teachers

  • In Early Years, you can encourage your child to be independent at home.  For example, they can get dressed by themselves and be involved in packing their bag for the next day.  This  will help to build independence.  
  • Reading is very beneficial.  Re-reading the same stories is as important as reading new ones.  Reading a story again and again will build understanding, fluency and the reader can practice intonation.
  • Talk about the homework: one of our teachers suggests encouraging your child to talk about what they have been doing at school and asking them to use the language that they have been using in their lessons.  If you need clarification of the language used at school, ask your teacher.
  • In Math: ask your child to talk through their work once completed. Ask them to explain how they found the answer. This builds understanding and the repetition will help to retain the learning.


Notes from our Upper School Teachers

  • Homework that is set is student’s responsibility.  Parents need not feel pressured to monitor their child’s homework. Students should be responsible for their own workload.
  • In Humanities, homework from the ‘homework menu’ should be chosen by the student and they should be challenging themselves. There are different levels of challenge within the homework menu and this also links back to the curriculum that is being taught.  The aim is to embed skills already being developed by work done in school.


(to read our school's full homework policy please refer to the 'homework policy' document available on the iSams parent app.)


Please talk to your child's teacher if you are concerned about homework!