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Creating Effective Homework Strategies

Four Top Tips

For Creating Effective Homework Strategies

Parents often feel overwhelmed by the demands of homework and study for their upper primary and secondary school students.  Here are a few simple tips from Mathematics teacher, Eduard Rabin from Brigidine College Indooroopilly.

Tip 1: Create the Space

While parents should not do the homework for their child, they need to be involved in their study. Try setting-up a public homework space, e.g. kitchen, where it is easy for you to be present. Be involved by giving mini vocab tests, proof-reading an essay or getting your child to teach you. D’Souza found that “Learners retain approximately 90% of what they learn when they teach someone else.” (2010) So asking your child to explain some aspect of their work is helping them learn and understand it to a deeper level!

If your family prefers homework to be done in the bedroom provide ample desk space to spread books out and a comfortable, upright chair. Keep the door open to the room that is used. There are no ‘secrets’ in homework so there is no need to hide away! Encourage the effort your child is making.

Tip 2: Remove e-distractions

Teachers don’t want parents to lock away the laptops and computers! BUT it can be hard enough just trying to complete homework itself, let alone managing a social life at the same time. That’s why it is wise to limit the use of technology to times when it is necessary. The temptations of social media are sometimes just too strong. If at all possible, keep computers in a public space and mobile phones and ipods etc away from where homework is done.

Tip 3: Be organised

Be organised! A school student’s most important book for school – A Student Diary. It is an organisational tool! All homework details must be noted in the diary for every subject, every school day. (The mantra is E S E S D).  And when it’s finished – tick it off. This gives enormous satisfaction to all – student, parent and teacher.

Most Student Diaries have a notes page. Keeping each other in-the-loop is important so please use this or any other means your school provides.

Tip 4: Develop Good Habits

Set aside a consistent time of day to do homework and stick to that time as much as possible. Once entrenched, habits are not easily changed so make homework a good habit that’s hard to break.

The following is a general guide as to the duration of homework/assignment time at each year level:

Year 7-8: 60 mins; Year 9-10:1-2 hours; Years 11-12: 2-3 hours each school day. This will build during exam times. If there is still time left over, students can take the opportunity to do revision or study.

Here are just a few suggestions:

 *Re-read the chapter covered in class and/or read ahead, take notes and have questions ready

*Memorize new and important material ie., formulas or vocab

*Complete extra reading on the topic currently under study

*Do extra questions from the ‘challenge’ section of a text

*Borrow different texts and try other questions on the same topic being covered in class

*In early secondary years, practise “mental maths” daily. Hide the calculators! Challenge your child with the times table or addition and subtraction of small numbers.

It’s that easy ….

Teachers know that students who have done their homework in a stable environment, without distractions, in an organised manner with parent involvement, and who have strived to develop good habits, are BY FAR the most engaged learners.

Consolidating the day’s work means that the student will get much more out of the next lesson, and the one after that.  These four top tips will benefit students not only during their time in high school but also with further study.

by Eduard Raben, B Ed.

Mathematics Teacher, Brigidine College Indooroopilly and father of three

This article was published in Issue 5 of our print magazine, August/September 2014.

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