Worried that your child hasn’t finished his holiday homework yet? Fret not. We give you tips on how you can help him finish his work despite the holiday mood.
By Leena Ghosh
'Holiday homework' – two words that don’t go together in any child’s dictionary. But, it’s a reality for most children and their parents today. Whether it’s a science project on collecting different varieties of leaves or an English assignment on writing an essay on the vacation trip, holiday homework has its benefits.
According to a study titled 'When Is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math', by Maltese et al, published on ERIC in 2012, homework contributes to better scores in certain subjects like science and maths. The reports says, 'The results indicate a consistently positive significant relationship between homework and performance on standardised exams'.
Another study done by Pratisha Dekha, titled ‘Homework During Holidays’, published in the International Research Journal of Interdisciplinary and Multidisciplinary Studies in July 2015, pointed out that holiday homework also helped build a child’s personality. According to the study, ‘Doing homework is a great way to develop a sense of responsibility. By being assigned work one day and knowing that it has to be done by the next day, children develop a sense of punctuality by turning their work in on time’.
Now that you know how holiday homework helps your child, we list a few ways in which you can help him finish his homework on time.
1. Make a plan: With less than a month to go before schools reopen, you need to go through the tasks assigned to your child and make a plan, with his inputs, on how to finish the homework on time. Remember not to overburden him with work on any given day and distribute the assignments evenly over the month. His vacations are not over, and he shouldn’t be exhausted even before school begins.
2. Set aside some time: Now that you have a plan in place, set aside a fixed time that your child should devote to homework every day. If possible, and depending on the work load, you can schedule homework time every alternate day, so she still has time for non-school related activities.
3. Motivate: Getting your child to do homework will need your expert motivational skills. Make him understand the new skills he’s learning by completing the tasks. Also, give him a little treat whenever he finishes his homework in a subject a little ahead of time.
4. Be a role model: When your child is doing her homework, if possible, sit down with her and finish your pending paperwork. Sort out the bills or attend to the mails that you have been putting off for some time. Seeing you busy at work will motivate her and show her that you take your work as seriously as she takes her school work.
5. Make it a family affair: While going through your child’s homework list, keep the most fun assignments for last. Whether it’s a science project or a geography assignment, figure out the ones you could do with him. Collect rocks of different shapes or colours, or build a volcano at home. Show your child that holiday homework and learning can be a lot of fun.
6. Don’t make it a chore: Do not tell your child things like, “Fun doesn’t last. You have to get back to work,” or “That’s life. Deal with it.” Getting your child to do homework during vacations is going to be a tough task. Don’t make it harder by washing your hands off it and telling her to deal with it. Motivate her at every step and tell her why learning something new every day is a good thing and doing homework is just part of the learning process.
7. Don’t do it for him: There’s a difference between ‘being there for your child’, and ‘doing your child’s work for him’. Be supportive of him, by all means, but don’t do his work for him no matter how much he complains. The goal of holiday homework is that he continues to learn even when he’s on a break and learns to do so independently.
8. Don’t blame her: If your child has not started work on any of her assignments yet, don’t lose your cool and start blaming her or calling her ‘irresponsible’. This will only make her panic and become disinterested in her work. Assess the situation and help her plan out what she needs to get done and by when.
9. Don’t complain about the homework: You have to be the adult here; so, you can’t complain about the amount of work the school gives your child during the holidays. Don’t show the school or the teacher in a bad light as it will send out a wrong message to your child – that you don’t take his school or teachers seriously.
10. Don’t hover: How would you like it, if your boss hovered over your shoulder while you finished your presentation? Give your child the space and the independence to finish her work and make sure she does so on time.
It’s important for parents to get involved in their child’s learning process but not get over-involved. Some parents have the habit of going through each stage of their children’s homework, and sometimes, even finishing the assignment for them. This way, the whole purpose of homework is defeated, and the child learns nothing. Parents should allow their children to come to them with doubts.
Also, if parents are not sure about the answers or solutions to a problem, they should not give the wrong answer just for the sake of ‘giving an answer’. If you don’t know how to address a homework-related problem, tell your child that you don’t know the answer and that you’d get back to him later. - Sutapa Ghosh, Former Principal, Dalimss Sunbeam School, Varanasi
Do not nag your child about the homework and spoil his holiday fun. Support him, motivate him and help him meet his goals on time. And, be rest assured that you can all continue to enjoy the rest of the holidays.
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