Supporting the parents in supporting the child with their homework is crucial and will ultimately enable there to be progress and achievement.
Parents and carers are, in the majority, keen to work with their child but often need guidance as to how to best support the process.
Outlining clearly the expectations for homework in the front of the homework book is helpful and can be used to refer to. These expectations should be for the pupil, the parent and for you as the class teacher.
The pupil needs to understand the importance of completing their homework and speaking to you, the class teacher, if there are any issues with the completion. They also need to know the presentation expectations.
Which writing implement they should use and the handwriting expectations. Create a pack for each child, if your school allows, with a pencil, pen and ruler to be used for homework. Some children will not have access to these things and providing them means they all get a chance to follow the homework rules!
The parents need to know when homework is to be given, the length of time to be spent on each piece and the level of support they should give. Both the pupils and the parents also need to know how and when the work will be marked.
Homework is an important window onto the world of school and for many parents is a key indicator into your role as an educator. How you mark and correct the pieces of work submitted, your comments and your encouragement, your analysis, next step and targets are all being looked at by the most critical of groups, the parents!
Include in your outline sheet the following:
A timetable for homework
The approximate time to be spent on each piece of work
The level of support you expect from the parents and carers e.g. hear you child read aloud for 10 minutes daily and then ask them to talk to you about their favourite part/event or to recount the story or the best method for learning how to read new words or to spell new words
Your expectations for presentation
An outline of how and when you will mark the work and provide feedback
Outlining the support available for those not able to complete their work or who struggle
Please also remember that not all parents are literate, can converse,read or write in English or have the time, ability or interest to support the process of homework.
It is not your role to judge, it is your role however to enable. Use clear English in the outline sheet, have it translated into the known languages for parents if it is possible and offer opportunities for conversations about the process to further support.
Also, acknowledge that the timetable for the completion may have to change as children may live between two houses and be cared for by different parents on different days.
"It is not your role to judge, it is your role however to enable."
Being sensitive and understanding and providing solutions to any problems that may arise with enable the pupils to complete their work and for you to have a supportive parent and carer community.
There will also be the anomaly and knowing you have done all you can to enable will offer you additional security and reassurance. You can only try!
Start to think about the above suggestions for September so you can start as you mean to go on! I would make sure the first piece of homework goes out on the very first night! Start early so you can build a routine for everyone involved!
About our Community Expert
Editorial Advisory Board Lead
Over 27 years of educational experiences in a number of settings. Developed a clear vision and ethos for inclusion which puts the child at the centre and a clear understanding of how to support, engage and nurture the individual.
Ability to train all staff through effective and reflective continual professional development in behavioural management techniques that begin, establish and maintain change in all.