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Parents Panel: What tactics do you use to make sure homework gets done?

‘I tell them they don’t have to do it – but that they’ll have to explain themselves to the teacher the next day.’


AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we wanted to create a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads could share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way. With that in mind, we’ve launched TheJournal.ie Parents Panel.

This week, we’re asking our panel (or at least, those with school-age kids) all about that dreaded after-school task: homework. What tactics do you use to make sure homework gets done? 

Here’s what our panel had to say…

Parents Panel All 7

Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly.

Right or wrong, they have to attempt everything
My eldest two are now 16 and 21. As a working single parent, I always made it clear that any homework had to be done straight away after school. We had a rule that all homework had to be attempted at least. Whether it was right or wrong, once an attempt to do it was made that was ok. They have kept to the same routine all through their schooling, homework done straight away, and all work attempted.

- Denise Cumiskey 

We turn what they’ve learnt into a game
We try to make a game out of some element of the homework after it’s done, by incorporating the spellings or sums into card games or the like. Additionally, I always ensure they do homework at the same time in the same place. My kids are young (six and three) so I have tried to set good habits and make homework fun now, to hopefully remove any future issues.

- Suzie Kelly

shutterstock_718142116 Source: Shutterstock/NadyaEugene

No friends, TV or computer time before homework
Like every kid, everywhere, my two hate homework. To ensure that they get it done Karen and I are quite strict with them. Homework time comes before TV, computers or friends.

Sometimes when they are really dragging their heels I’ll tell them that that they don’t have to do their homework, provided that they are willing to face their teacher’s wrath the next day. That usually inspires them!

Now that Daniel is in secondary school, we’ve taken a slight step back in managing his homework. Each day we’ll ask if he has done it, but we try to take his word for it.

- Ken Hyland

There’s always a parent on hand to help
We have a system for after-school- lunch boxes out and homework to be started. My wife starts and finishes work earlier than me, so she looks after homework, helping the kids as needed and testing them on things like poems, spellings and tables. We’re very fortunate to be able to spend time with them doing homework. We feel it helps enormously.

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- Alan Dooley

shutterstock_523824190 Source: Shutterstock/plantic

Homework before dinner
This challenge is a few years away for me but I think it will be one of those situations where I try to channel my mom.  There was a strict system of snack and then homework before any TV, computer time or games. It meant that homework was always complete by dinnertime.

- Ríona Flood

Too much homework can be counterproductive
With homework, I definitely think it is a case of less is better. We never had any issues with homework, but in their previous schools it could take the kids up to an hour to get the work done, even in first class. Ultimately I think that level of homework is counterproductive because it just breeds disinterest and resentment.

- Susannah O’Brien

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More Parents Panel: How did you decide where your baby should sleep?

More Parents Panel: How do you keep your kids active during the colder months?

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