The toughest part of being the parent half of education partnership, is getting homework done. We know as adults that the current economic situation means uneducated people have little hope of living comfortable lives.
    Here’s some help on this big parenting challenge.
    0- 1. EXPLAIN WHY It’s important for you and the student to really understand why homework is so important. Your young person is entitled to know what all the fuss is about or they cannot feel motivated to put in what is at least sometimes, a big effort.
    * A class lesson is just an introduction to the topic. The real work is doing homework.
    * Doing homework trains the brain to learn by doing, not just looking and observing. It’s so easy to think you got it until you have to write answers.
    * It trains you to get things done by a certain time (deadlines) which applies to jobs, paying bills, and looking after a baby.
    * Homework shows the teacher where you didn’t get it, and you get a help explanation so now you can understand. It also sometimes shows up that almost the whole class had a certain problem, so the teacher knows to go over that part again.
    Reinforce these ideas each term by discussing why homework matters so much. Make these points part of other casual conversation, either directly or where your child can hear what you say to another.

    0- 2. FEAR A lot of homework resistance is down to fear - which can be well hidden. That rude, silent, awkward behaviour is often fear coming from lonely struggle without knowng how to 'win.'. Jokey or charming avoidance is also fear. Bad habits in the past have taught such a child that homework is terrifying. It's incredibly hard and boring to do (they think) and they'll only get bad grades so what's the point? Also of course there are so many other things to do, like nothing very much but nothing very much is pleasant.
    With your help following this guide, the young person can learn to do homework one at a time, without having a scary mountain to do. They can do it while a lesson is fresh in mind so it 's far easier to do. They'll get those first good grades which change the whole landscape.
    So start your new homework project the pleasant way by being kind and patient, even if you don't feel it. Tough action may be needed, but this should only follow up when you have been kind first. Children have a laser sharp sense of what is fair, so work with it and use it.
    Never use ONLY punishment and disapproval. Make sure you smile for something for every time you frown, and reward other things if you need to punish. Parents stuck in negative mode train a child to get used to it, and get ignored. A double mode parent is hard to ignore.

    0- 3. REWARD There’s nothing wrong with giving rewards for getting homework done. We reward ourselves after all. ‘ When I get this done I’ll read that nice book/ have a biscuit.’
    Rewards don’t need to be big. or cost money though some teenagers do respond to money strongly. So making pocket money depend on homework being done can be very successful. But visits to favourite places, favourite TV, time to play adored games, can all work well.
    Rewards need to be immediate as young brains live in the now. Wonderful things next month are a fantasy, and even next week is not solid. Stick to today and tomorrow.
    Never forget that your smile, your approval as a parent, your warm voice saying how proud your, is the most powerful reward in the world. Research has proved that this is what builds successful futures. Tell your child you like the look of their work/ what they’ve done is interesting – tidy – impressive – intelligent/ that you’re proud of them. Smile!

    0- 4. PUNISH Never be afraid of using parent authority. Taking away things a child or young person likes is obviously unpleasant for both of you. But this is tough love.
    If you let your child live lazily, you are teaching them how to be a great big useless parasite later. Be warned: once bad habits get set by 15 or so it is almost impossible to change without getting really nasty indeed. So if you do not want to keep your child in lazy slobbery as you grow older, act now.
    An obvious target to take away is games. Outings can be cancelled. There is always something that the child loves over which you have parent power.
    As with rewards make sanctions immediate, today or tomorrow.

    0- 5. CHECK! Don’t wait for half term or end of term. By then the problem has grown enoromous, and the child cannot possibly complete all the back work. They have won the war, and got away with it no matter how much they are told off. But they have been allowed to damage their precious education.
    In First College you have the advantage of being able to check the work completion whenever you wish just by going to your child’s personal report page.
    Check it Wednesday latest and again Friday so work doesn’t slide into the weekend.
    (Weekend working is not good work. It’s too long since the lesson so things have been forgotten, and work is rushed and sloppy to get it all done.)
    Never, never ask ‘Have you done your homework?’ as the reply will often be designed to please, rather than reporting precisely. Check for yourself.

    0- 6. SET TIME Most young persons cannot organise time. That is an adult skill. Do it for them by agreeing Homework Time on every weekday.
    If it can be the same time every day that helps remember for the whole family. If not, make a timetable, print it, and put it by the fridge and by phones, as well as by their computer.
    Make sure the whole family respects Homework Time as priority importance time. Don’t trash it by arranging other activities in it if you can possibly help it. Speak about it respectfully ‘Oh we can’t do it then that’s Homework Time’ shows the child how to think about it.

    0- 7. WEEKENDS Before taking atrip, or going out, or including the young person in any special weekend activities, check homework is done. If not, don’t let them join in that event.
    If you don’t do this you are teaching the child that homework doesn’t really matter. You are also training them to do it in a mad rush on Sunday night so it is stressed, quick, and sloppy. It will get bad grades and damage their confidence. It will lead into putting it off next week because doing it creates stress and only gets bad grades.
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    Homework supported by parents can be pleasant and successful. All GOOD students get this kind of help from parents. Sadly, far too many students don’t get this parenthelp, or not enough, and they struggle miserably as a result.
    It is not, in the end, intelligence in the child that wins success. It’s parenting: the nags and the smiles that build a bright future.
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