Homework Policy and Home Learning Advice
Please read the attached policy to understand what to expect for homework as your child progresses through school.
Reading has proven to have many cognitive benefits—not only for children, but also for adults. Increased concentration, mental stimulation, vocabulary expansion, memory improvement and the building of knowledge are just some of the benefits of reading. Below are the top five tips to support your child’s reading at home.
1. Read everything you see and encourage your child to do so too
Encouraging your child to read everything they come across will stimulate their curiosity for the world around them. For example, when children start to read newspapers, magazines or even store names, they will begin to make connections between words and their understanding of the world.
2. Use fun and inventive ways to practice spelling words with your children
Making reading fun will help your child practice spelling and leave them feeling more engaged. Spelling games also help to reinforce familiar spelling patterns. Hundreds of spelling games can be found online, but some of the classics include Hangman, Text Twist and Word Search.
3. Embolden your child to go beyond their comfort zone
Children respond to positive reinforcement. If your child appears intimidated to reading longer books or words, encourage them to take it one step at a time. Instead of reading an entire chapter of a long book, perhaps you can challenge them to reading just one page or one paragraph of a book. If your child has problems reading a new word, you may want to help them sound out each syllable and explain the meaning of a word.
4. Make reading an enjoyable activity
Set time aside so that your child can curl up on a couch to read. Spending quality time next to them reading and letting them know that they can ask questions also reinforces a positive association to reading. By creating an environment which makes reading enjoyable and relaxing, your child is more likely to read without seeing it as homework or a chore. Books do not always have to challenge a child. Encourage them to just read and explore the story and ask them what they think about the book.
5. Share your enthusiasm for reading with your child
Parents can be the best promoter for reading. When children see their parent’s enthusiasm for a book, a story in the newspaper or magazine, they are more inclined to be interested in reading the same story. If you happen to read something interesting on the internet, or in a book, share with your child why you found it interesting and incite a discussion around the topic. You can also ask your child to help you choose a book that they are excited to read.
1. Discuss Maths with your Child at Home
Talking about mathematics in contexts such as cooking, crafts, travelling, and playing with your children is the best way to make this discipline an active part of your children’s day-to-day lives. For them, using maths will become just as normal as everything else.
Environment is key: as long as you provide a reason for children to discuss maths, they will do so. This is why it’s up to parents and carers to lay the foundations for future academic success. The more you talk about math in a positive way around your children, the more likely they are to start taking a personal interest in it. Do not hesitate to ask them questions about maths, for example, ask them how to solve mathematical calculations while baking or on a walk. Exercises like this will help develop their recall skills and put them at ease with maths, making for a smooth transition into technical learning in the future.
2. Learn Maths Through Playing Games
Playing cool maths games with your children will also provide you with a good opportunity to learn basic maths. Learn about counting, sorting, telling time, number sense, comparing, reasoning, probability, estimation, and rounding in primary maths. For example, you could ask your children to measure the amount of pasta in a bowl or count the pieces while you cook. Lego may also be used to visualise operations such as addition and subtraction or multiplication and division. For the younger children attending preschool, why not get them to colour in digits to teach them about writing numbers?
3. Use Your Child’s Interests to Help with Maths
You will be pleasantly surprised to see how quickly kids learn when they’re enjoying themselves. There are also many free maths websites with lots of math resources, puzzles and fun maths games for kids such as TopMarks Maths and Math Playground. You could even download a free math app onto your tablet. Some budding mathematicians may even learn math at home without knowing that it is related to their studies at school. Learning to identify your children’s interests and include them in their education is an excellent way to keep them engaged.
4. See Maths in Everyday Life
For many children, there is no real link between the content of their maths lessons and everyday life. However, there is an opportunity to demonstrate this link in your home, in your garden, or while doing the weekly shop. For instance, ask your children about counting the change in your purse or to calculate the total sum of your purchases as you make your way around the shop. If you enjoy cooking, why not give your child the role of sous-chef for the day and get them to help with the recipe? Measure the amounts of flour, sugar, count the eggs, convert the measurements from imperial to metric and estimate the cooking time, converting minutes into hours and using the clock to work out when your cake will be baked. All of a sudden you’ll see how removing the pressure of timed maths tests makes learning easy, as children learn to appreciate the applications of maths in a given situation. This method of learning is far more fun than spending hours on math worksheets, homework or maths quiz questions.
5. See More than One Solution to a Maths Problem
Children need to learn that math is more than calculators and equals signs. There are always several ways to solve any maths problem and many maths tricks that will make your life easier. For example, for simple operations and estimation, why use a calculator when mental calculation can save you time? By showing them that there are several paths to the same answer, you will help kids develop critical thinking and logic skills as they learn to consider each approach.
6. Create a Suitable Environment for Learning Maths
Children develop their early maths skills by getting to know the world around them. It is the responsibility of the parents to develop and nurture this natural curiosity by sharing their personal experiences with maths and helping children to appreciate that maths all around them. For instance, point out the mathematical elements of how their house has been built or look closely at a flat-pack bookcase. You could even try modelling this with Lego bricks. However, it is impossible to do well in maths if you’re working in the wrong kind of environment. Whether it’s sitting down to do maths homework or to have a private maths lesson, trying to concentrate in a busy or disorganised area can be too difficult for some. Give your child a learning corner decorated with a number line and with kids' learning games and educational toys such as building cubes or modelling clay, so they are free to feed their appetite for knowledge in a calm and familiar environment.