Helping at Home

Research throughout the world tells us that when parents are actively involved in their child's education children achieve better and enjoy school more. Below are some ideas for parents and older family members to help at home in the key areas of literacy and numeracy.

Home Learning

  1. Home learning is regularly set.
  2. The following times are a guide for home learning at each age level
    5 years               - 10 minutes per night.
    6 - 7 years         - 10 - 15 minutes per night.
    8 - 10 years       -  20 - 25 minutes per night.
    11 - 13 years    -  25 - 30 minutes per night.
  3. Parents are responsible for ensuring that home learning is completed satisfactorily.
  4. Teachers will follow up where home learning is not completed.Consideration will be given to the extra-curricula activities of the student.
  5. Home learning will focus on reading, spelling and knowledge of basic facts especially in Years 1 to 6. In Years 7 & 8 elements of research skills will be added.
Here are some ways you can help with homework:
  • Let your child have a bit of time to unwind after school.
  • Decide together how long the homework will take.
  • Give them a snack and drink before they start.
  • Choose a space that is comfortable and reasonably quiet – some children work better with music or background noise, but turn off the TV.
  • Get them to check they have everything they need before starting.

Helping with Reading

  • Read TO your child. Pause: Don’t rush in and tell!
  • Read WITH your child (take turns together). Praise: You cannot overdo this!
  • Have your child read INDEPENDENTLY. Prompt: Help with clues.

What if my child isn’t sure about a word?
  • Wait a few seconds. Often they will work it out for themselves.
  • Look together at the beginning of the word and help them work out the initial sound.
  • Talk about possible words that would make sense in the sentence. Suggest they look for clues in the pictures / illustrations.
  • Ask them to go back to the beginning of the sentence or read in to the end of the sentence.
  • If they still don’t know the word, tell them. Encourage them to read the sentence again.

What do I do when my child doesn’t understand the meaning of what they are reading?
  • Use the pictures / illustrations to help you talk about the story.
  • Relate what happens in the story to your child’s experiences.
  • Talk about the book together.
  • Listen to your child read.
  • Talk about it again afterwards.

What if the book seems too hard?
  • Children will usually bring home books they are familiar with. If your child often brings books home that are too difficult please discuss it with their teacher.
  • Read other things!
  • Let your child see you reading.
  • Read words wherever you find them: shop signs, labels, shopping lists, tickets, name tags etc.
  • Read favourite books over and over again.
  • Visit the library together to choose books.
  • Explore the newspaper and magazines together.

Foster a love of books and reading
  • Let your children see you reading.
  • Provide a wide range of reading material.
  • Give books as presents.
  • Visit the library together.
* Refer to your child’s HOME READING JOURNAL for further ideas.

Helping with Writing

How should I respond to the writing my child brings home from school?
  • Encourage them to tell you about their writing.
  • Listen while they read their writing to you.
  • Display their work. Be proud of it. Share it with others.
How can I help my child write at home?
  • Give them pens, pencils, crayons, felt-tip pens, chalk or time on the computer.
  • Let them see you writing.
  • Label objects around the house.
  • Pin up lists that your child is using.
What could my child write about?
Anything that interests them:   
  •  A note, an email or letter to a friend or family member.
  • A sign for their bedroom door.
  • A book about your family.
  • A special card. eg. Birthday, Christmas.
  • A family event.
  • A shopping list.

Helping with Maths

For younger children
  • Sorting: eg: Sort toys into groups according to size, colour, texture etc.
  • Comparing: eg: Compare shoes sizes, height, buttons on coats. Use words like most, more, least, fewest.
  • Ordering: eg: order family members by age, vegetables by size, toys by weight. Use words like heavier, lightest.
  • Patterning: Look at patters on curtains, wallpaper etc. Copy a pattern and have your child repeat it.
  • Matching: eg. Match socks from the laundry, play ‘snap’, do jigsaws.
  • Counting
    • Count real things.
    • Count forwards and backwards, in twos, threes etc.
    • Use counting to solve problems.
    • Play board games.
    • Recognise numbers around them. eg. At the supermarket.
      • Basic Facts
        • Write them out.
        • Chant / sing them.
        • Have basic facts quizzes / competitions.
        • Make flash cards
  • Problem Solving
    Make up real life problems. For example:
    • If I have six biscuits and there are 3 of us, how many will we each receive?
    • How much change will I get from $100 if our groceries cost $44.85?
    • How long will it take us to travel 80km if we are travelling at 100kmph?There is usually more than one way to solve a problem. If your child has a strategy that is different from yours, that is OK!

      Share time with your children.
  • Cooking, making, exploring, walking, biking, fixing, weeding, playing etc
If they get stuck:
  • Help them problem solve by explaining or showing them the steps needed to complete the task.
  • Make up similar questions or tasks for them to work through.
  • Give clues rather than the answer.
  • Be aware of frustration levels, theirs and yours!
  • Explain where and how to find information they may need.
  • Don’t be tempted to do it for them.
If you find the home learning too hard or if it is taking far too much time and causing stress, talk to the teacher. They can help you to help your child.