Parenting - - In This Issue -

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.teach­ingmy­chil­

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