In most school settings, homework is an expected part of a student’s academic journey.
However, many parents find themselves navigating through a myriad of challenges when it comes to their children’s homework routine.
From anxiety and lack of motivation to the more complex struggles with specific subjects, these hurdles can often become sources of stress for parents and students alike.
This article will delve into some of the common homework-related issues that parents encounter while providing practical strategies to assist their child in overcoming these challenges.
Regardless if your child is enrolled in a mainstream MOE school or a school that offers international or American education in Singapore, there are ways to facilitate a more effective homework routine for your child.
Let’s look at some common problems kids face when doing schoolwork at home, as well as some strategies that will help you turn homework time into a productive and enriching experience for your child.
1) Anxiety and Irritability
It’s not uncommon for children to feel negative emotions about homework, given the significant demands it can make on their personal time. However, strong anxiety over homework can seriously affect a child’s mental health, negatively affecting their quality of life and their academic performance over the long term.
Homework anxiety is not necessarily just about homework. It could also be related to other events that aren’t obviously connected to the homework itself. Have a conversation with your child to find out if there may be other things that are bothering them. If needed, consult with a child psychologist and your child’s school counselor to arrive at specific and actionable solutions.
2) A Lack of Support at Home
Many parents have a lot on their minds and they may neglect to help their children with their studies. This is usually fine—until it isn’t. If your child starts to feel overwhelmed because of their coursework, both their academics and mental health can suffer.
You don’t have to hold your child’s hand through every step of their homework, but they must know you’re there to help. More importantly, they should feel safe about asking you for assistance. Take steps to assure them that you’re ready to assist them if needed.
3) External Distractions
The lack of a dedicated workspace, hyperactive siblings, and nearby construction noise are just some of the many potential issues that can divert your child’s attention from their homework. If these distractions are a constant issue, they may eventually create an impact on your child’s grades.
Take a proactive approach to solving these issues and avoid the temptation to just leave things be. Make sure you do your best to create an environment that’s truly conducive to completing schoolwork.
4) The Subject Isn’t Their Forte
It’s normal to have trouble wrapping your head around a subject at any age. If your child struggles with a certain subject, they may find it that much harder to reach their full academic potential.
Help your child break down more difficult topics into more manageable chunks. Other strategies you can try include getting them a specialized tutor, having them join a study group, and encouraging them to allocate time to practice the subject.
5) Poor Note-Taking Habits
If your child is bad at taking notes, they can easily forget to do their homework or they can leave out important details. Worse, if bad note-taking habits become ingrained, your child may find it progressively difficult to take on challenging schoolwork.
Fortunately, there are several solutions that your child can try for effective note-taking. These include using abbreviations and symbols for efficient recording and taking a couple of minutes to review what was written or typed after the fact. You can also learn and teach them more advanced note-taking methods like mind mapping or the popular Cornell method.
6) Time Management
Chances are your child will have multiple pieces of homework to finish at any given time. If they’re not able to prioritize these effectively, they can easily miss deadlines or spend too much time on the wrong things, negatively impacting their performance.
Have your child create a to-do list and have them arrange their tasks according to deadlines and which one they believe would be the most difficult. Generally speaking, they should do easier tasks first before moving on to more challenging deliverables. Encourage them to periodically reassess priorities and make necessary adjustments depending on the obstacles they encounter.
As you’re probably well aware, doing homework can be a thoroughly unpleasant experience.
Unfortunately, too many parents simply ignore their children’s difficulties with homework, hoping that they figure things out themselves.
While some children do, many more don’t, ultimately paying the price as reflected in their academic performance and self-esteem.
Once you’re aware of your child’s challenges with their homework, it’s important that you take action.
Implementing thoughtful, specific solutions to common homework problems will not only result in a positive academic experience, but it should also teach them valuable life skills without causing them to miss out on the joys of growing up.