TWEENS AND TEENS
As you have probably realised if you have a child over the age of 11, helping them with homework is quite different from helping your younger child. Sometimes it might seem that World War Three or the next cold war has begun between you, and they are winning! If you want to help your teen do well with their study, but they won’t let you be involved, read on. They may have distanced themselves from you, and won’t share their thoughts as often as they did. In fact at times they may treat you like a stranger they don’t particularly like.
Maybe they are doing very little or no homework, won’t answer any of your questions satisfactorily anymore, and tell you that everything is under control; even though you and perhaps their school are worried it isn’t.
Educational research shows that homework is a very important factor in your teen’s academic success or failure. As important as it is for completing assignments on time and revising for exams, homework is also a crucial time your teen relearns and remembers anything especially new and difficult that has been taught that day or that week.
Negotiate on some of these points so your teen studies more effectively and independently.
• Regularly revise most evenings for 20 minutes to understand any difficult ideas and skills.
• Help them to use other resources to understand and remember information and skills they need. You can show them how to use textbook explanations and exercises as well as information on websites. You can suggest they create a small study group with classmates.
• If your teen is a quiet ‘good student’, support them to catch the teacher’s attention more often. Problem-solve moving closer so the teacher can see them, and raising their hand whenever they don’t understand or have a question. Check in often to help them develop this skill. Ask, “How often did you put your hand up today?” Or “Did you get to sit closer to the teacher today?”
• Expect and encourage them to read books, magazines, and the news regularly for information and enjoyment, and talk with your teen about what they are reading. Reading and discussing helps them develop a wide and flexible vocabulary, a broad understanding of differences in others and an understanding of situations and topics outside their own lives. It also does help them achieve highly at school.
• As with your younger children, it is very important that you give your full attention to your teenager or tween as often as you can during homework time, and that you monitor unexpectedly and often so they stay focused, and are actually doing what they say they are doing.
Anne Marsh www.teachingmychildren.com