The number one barrier to getting maths homework done is ineffective planning, which can be overcome in 6 ways to help your child do maths homework effectively. But before you start making any changes in homework strategies, talk to your child first about why you are making the changes.
Let them know that they have done well so far and that you are going to work together with them to make getting homework done easier for them so that they can become a stronger and more successful learner with a few good strategies under their belt.
So let’s get to the 6 ways to help your child do maths homework effectively.
Most adults make a to-do list daily. Encourage your child to do the same. Ask them to list out at the beginning of each day all the homework tasks they have to do. Get them to cross each task out as it is done. This can give them a sense of accomplishment. This list can be created in a paper notebook or as a checklist in the notepad function on their phone or computer.
Read before doing
Most kids plough into a problem sum without fully reading the question or analysing what type of question it is and which maths method should be used to tackle it. Get your child into the habit of reading the task question through carefully before they start to do any work. This way they can also work out if they will need any help from you for their assignment. If their first response is that they don’t understand the task, ask them to read it through carefully again out loud and underline the key words before they ask for help.
Schedule times you can help
You don’t want your child to end up relying on you to help them with their homework. Train in some independence. Arrange to be there at the beginning of their session and towards the end but let them gain independence in the middle to manage their time and get the work done. Make it clear to them that, if they can’t do a particular question, to circle it and come back to it at the end but not to waste time in the middle. Ask them to do the questions they can do first. They can then circle back to the more challenging tasks once you are there to lend support.
Set time limits
Set a rule that your child must attempt a problem sum on their own for a certain length of time before they can ask for help. They will find it rewarding when they manage to solve a sum on their own that they thought they could not, and this builds confidence in maths. Lengthen the time gradually but make sure you are not overwhelming them. When you do come to help, get them to explain to you what they did to try to solve the problem first.
Establish peer support
Get your child to create a network of school buddies they can call on when they get stuck on a task so they can approach them before they approach you or their teacher. Peer learning is a powerful strategy.
Create rewards for success
New study habits are difficult to learn without incentives. Set up daily, weekly and monthly rewards for work well done. Celebrate small wins not just the big ones. These can be in the form of extra time on the computer, a favourite snack, an outing perhaps to the zoo. As the good study habits are ingrained, you can phase out the more frequent rewards as your child’s sense of achievement and pride in their work replace the need for incentives.
The goal with this exercise is to build a confident learner able to take on maths challenges and use their wits and skills to overcome them independently.