Making your child do extra home learning – a help or a hindrance?

All schools strive to get the best results for pupil improvement and school attainment. This can only be a good thing, as all they want is to help your child develop and learn to the best of their ability and beyond – not forgetting keeping to the curriculum set by the education gods! But as a mum myself I can’t help but feel the pressure that can be laid on by school to be at their expected level of achievement or above, and as a parent I always feel I should be doing more. That is perhaps normal, however I don’t want to become a pushy parent and end up putting them off learning all together.

My oldest son struggles a little with reading and a lot with maths, and he has no idea what’s going on in Spanish, which is a shame because knowing him, I am almost certain he would love learning the language, it’s just that the school way isn’t always for him, he’s more visual, creative and practical with learning, and sometimes requires extra time to fully absorb some tasks. He is having a full dyslexic test privately next week so we’ll see how best to help him thrive, as he’s a clever chap and I don’t want things to hold him back if at all necessary. Anyway the point is, I have to make him do spellings and times tables every day and this takes up a lot of time as he resists massively, and finds it really hard, so I worry what it will be like when he has additional homework set which will be in the next few weeks, so I am told. What I find really frustrating is that not all schools get the same support, apparently it’s depends on how many free school meal children there are in the school as to how much funding the school is allocated, and then of course how the head chooses to spend this additional funding. My son’s school doesn’t have many children with free school meals therefore there isn’t much there in the way of additional help for him. However the head is more than happy to spend money on having a tutor for ‘extended learning’ for those who particularly bright to obtain those ‘higher than average’ grades? Not really fair to those who really do need extra help!

However, I have read and will continue to read more about helping my child at home and supporting him adequately. There can be a fine line between ‘making’ them do their homework and ‘pushing’ them too much. So we need to allow some autonomy which I have talked about in my previous blog ‘Difficult to Engage your Child in Maths Homework?’, and let them take charge if that’s at all possible! Although on the flipside they do need a certain amount of motivation if they’re going to be ‘in charge’ and ‘take ownership’ of their own homework. Motivation is something that is most certainly lacking in my sons case! Which brings it back to me facilitating and help him, allowing him to independently learn at home to help regain confidence in his ability to achieve and understand.

I am beginning to engage my son in the idea of video lessons with to support his learning at home, not only to take the pressure off our relationship, but also because my helping him is quite often more of a hindrance to his learning, being anxious about the fact that he really needs to catch up and feel confident in understanding maths, is probably rubbing off. Stuck on Homework offers bitesize video lessons which is great because they’re able to keep the attention required for each little session, absorb it, visualise the lesson and fully understand – if that doesn’t happen the first time, then he can watch it again next time, and I can help by talking about the sessions we/he has seen.

If your child is at Key Stage 3 I would highly recommend that you get them subscribed with Stuck on Homework, KS3 is totally free so it’s a great way of trying it out. I know that I am bias because I blog for them, actually yes I am bias, because it’s a really good idea and a great way of getting extra help and support for your child! We also provide video lessons on the whole curriculum for GCSE, iGCSE and A-level maths too so check it out…


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