## How can I help my child with their homework?

It’s difficult. You want to support your child with their homework, but you don’t want to do it for them. So, how much help should you give them and what’s the best way to go about it?

The first thing you should do is make sure that you child has somewhere comfortable to work. By this I mean that they should have enough space to spread their books out, and there should be enough light for them to see what they are doing. Also make sure that there are no distractions, such as from the television or other siblings. This may be all the help that they need.

If they are struggling with the task itself, read through it yourself to make sure you understand what they have to do. Then try breaking it down into a series of smaller tasks for them, but instead of giving them a list of steps to follow, give them a list of questions to answer.

If your child is struggling with their homework on a regular basis it may be worth talking to their class teacher to see if they are having general difficulties. Sometimes children can benefit from having a private tutor who can give them some one-to-one help to help them catch up with their class.

Finally: everyone likes to be praised so make sure you do this. If your child has found the homework particularly hard then it may be better to praise the amount of effort they have put into it rather than the end results.

## How can I help my child with their maths homework?

As a private maths tutor, I often get asked by parents, “How can I support my child with their maths homework without doing it for them?”

In the short-term, the best thing you can do, is to read through it first to make sure you understand it yourself, and then break the problem down into a serious of questions like this:

What’s the first thing you need to work out?
Which operation (ie + – x or ÷) do you need to use?
If your child is unsure, you may need to ask supplementary questions:
Will the answer you get be bigger or smaller than the numbers used in the question?
Which two operations will give you a bigger/smaller number? (If necessary, try both of   these to see which answer looks more sensible)
What’s the second thing you need to work out?
Which operation (ie + – x or ÷) do you need to use?
What’s the third thing you need to work out?

In this way, you are helping your child to see that there are lots of small steps to be taken before the final answer can be worked out, but they still need to do the work for themselves. Think about it like a building job – the scaffolders always come first so that the builders have a safe environment to work in, but they still have to carry out the building work themselves. My worksheets for breaking down word problems into simple steps is available for download from my free resources page.

In the long-term, make sure that your child is confident with everyday maths such as times tables, and number bonds as this will help them in the rest of their work.

If you live in north Birmingham (Great Barr, Hamstead, Kingstanding, Pheasey, Streetly, Sutton) and would like to book a private maths tutor for your child, you can contact me via my website.

Related post: How can I help my child with their English homework?

## How can I help my child with their English homework?

As a tutor, one of the questions I get asked most often by parents is, “How can I help my child with their homework?” They understand that they shouldn’t be doing the homework for their child, but are not sure how to go about supporting. My recommendation is to read through the homework yourself first, and then give your child a series of questions to answer.

For example if they have been asked to write a recount of an exciting day and they don’t know where to start, try breaking it down as follows.

Where did you go?
Who came with you?
What did you do in the morning?
What did you do in the afternoon?
What was the best bit of the day?

If their task is to write a review of their favourite book, you could break it down like this:

What is the book called and who wrote it?
Who is the main character?
What sort of book is it (adventure, mystery, horror, fairytale, etc)?
What’s the best thing that happens in the book?
Is the ending expected or a surprise?
Who else in your class would like this book?
Would you read another book by the same author?

In this way, you are giving them a framework to support their writing, but they are still having to think about how they will answer the questions for themselves, so the homework will still be their own work.

If you live in north Birmingham (Great Barr, Hamstead, Kingstanding, Pheasey, Streetly, Sutton) and want to book a private English tutor for your child, contact me via my website.

Related post: How can I help my child with their maths homework.