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Top Tips For Encouraging Homework

Homework is one of the most common causes for arguments between children and their carers. Whilst this is a strain on families, there is also the wider issue of foster children not performing as well in school as their peers. As foster carers, we have the responsibility to ensure that the children we care for have the best possible opportunities and foundations for success.

Educational monitoring is a key focus of our agency – most recently highlighted in the recently published 2015 Ofsted Report. We encourage children and young people to attend school and to work hard so that they can reach their full potential.

Here are some of our favourite ways to encourage positive studying around homework:

Be Encouraging
First and foremost, you should be optimistic about what your foster child can achieve. If you believe in them and encourage them to fulfil their potential, then you’re giving them a positive view of themselves and their schoolwork.

Star Charts
As well as verbal encouragements, children respond very well to treats. It has been proven that rewards work better than punishments, so something like a star chart in which you can put a sticker every day that your foster child completes their homework, with a reward at the end, can really motivate kids.

Schoolwork Based Activities
Trips are a well-used tool for teachers in getting children enthusiastic about their studies, but the time and costs can’t always be spared. By giving children immersive experiences, such as going to a science museum to relate to their current topic in biology, galleries for art projects, and doing international cooking at home for their languages class, you can capture a child’s imagination whilst having the family days out that are essential for your bond with foster kids.

Routines and Goals
People, in general, respond well to having a routine, and children especially are comforted by knowing what to expect. By setting study time at the same time every day, you’re preparing your foster children’s expectations. For children who have a tendency to daydream rather than working, it may be an idea to set a time goal, but be sure to do this in a positive manner without making them feel pressured. It’s also a good idea to perform your own tasks in this time, such as cooking or laundry, as fun activities that happen whilst a child is studying can be very distracting and discouraging.

If you have any tips or tricks when it comes to homework, please let us know – we’d love to share ideas. In the meantime, celebrate our efforts with us and read the Ofsted Report in greater detail here.

For some of us, the school year is now starting to speed up a bit and you might feel like a bit more work is coming your way. Some of you might have your GCSEs just around the corner which means that your lessons and school work are about to get a lot more intense. This can often feel a little overwhelming so I’ve given you some top tips on how to manage your school work and ensure you don’t burn out:

Create a homework/revision timetable
If you write up a timetable to show when you’re going to do work or when you’re going to revise, it will make your workload a lot more manageable. Clearly setting out when you’re going to complete work will allow you to be more organised and if you have a written plan, you’re more likely to stick to it and be productive.

Ask for help when you need it
If you don’t understand a particular topic or a piece of homework, don’t suffer in silence! You could ask your teacher, your parent/carer or even one of your friends to help you out. Once they’ve explained it you’ll hopefully feel more confident.

Take a break
Whilst it’s brilliant to revise for tests, complete all your homework, do extension work etc, you have to be careful that you don’t overdo it. Taking a break from your work will allow your brain to process the information you’ve just gone over and you’ll hopefully be able to concentrate more when you go back to your work. Make a cup of tea, run around the garden, do something to take your mind away from your books! It’s amazing what a difference a 10 minute break will do for your learning and concentration.

For all those at the beginning of the new school term, all the very best!