As a Mum, a Maths teacher and a private tutor, I have seen homework from every different angle. I know that Mathematics homework often produces tears and stress and I have found that, even as an experienced Maths teacher, my kids don’t want to take any advice from me! I have spoken to hundreds of children and parents about the arguments and upset caused by parents trying to help their children with Maths. Based on these experiences, here are my top ten tips to equip you to help a child of any age with their Maths homework. You don’t need to know the answers yourself, just how to support your child in their learning journey.
- Make homework a part of your regular routine
Children are often less resistant to doing homework when they are expecting to have to do it.
- Keep it time-limited
Teachers will not expect children to spend hours on the homework. It is perfectly reasonable for your child to stop after half an hour or 45 minutes depending on their age. If they still haven’t finished their homework after that time, then write a note in their book to say the amount of time they have spent.
- Make it as gentle and non-confrontational as possible!
Homework can be really stressful for children, so try not to add to the stress! They are more likely to finish it if the atmosphere is positive.
- Ask questions rather than tell them answers.
Learn to guide your child to the answer by asking them questions. If you tell them the answer, they won’t learn from it.
- Don’t try to show them your method!
A lot of techniques in school Maths have changed since you were there, so don’t confuse your child by teaching them a different method than what they have learnt. Unless they are indicating to you that this is the method they are learning too.
- Look things up on YouTube.
There are loads of Maths teaching videos on YouTube. If you are looking for Maths help, then do it with your child so that they can tell you if it’s the same method they use at school. If it’s not, then look for another video.
- Contact a friend for help.
If your child is really struggling and they won’t have a chance to get help in school, then why not contact one of their school friends who has the same homework and see how they did it? Skype or Facetime is a great fun way to compare homework.
- Get help from the teacher.
Always do the homework early so that your child has a chance to go and get some help from the teacher BEFORE it is due in.
- Don’t find fault in their work.
You are not there to critique their work – that is the teacher’s job. You are just there for support and encouragement. So, unless your child is doing every single question completely wrong or unless they ask you to check it, then bite your tongue and leave the corrections to the teacher!
- PRAISE, PRAISE and more PRAISE!
Keep telling your child that they are doing a good job and you are proud of them!
If you would like advice from a qualified and experienced Maths teacher and tutor, feel free to get in touch. I am happy to help you.
Caroline Cutress x