How can I stop putting off schoolwork

Should you help your children with homework?

Research shows that teachers who give frequent homework are overall more successful than those who do not, although the amount of homework has no significant influence. Pupils obviously benefit from doing their tasks on a regular basis, whereby it does not matter how long the pupils sit on the tasks, but the performance even deteriorates over time, so that more time is usually not a sign of diligence, but just of inefficiency is. These are also facts that are well secured in terms of learning psychology - see Ebbinghaus's classic forgetting curve.

Almost every child goes through phases in their school days in which they feel less inclined to do homework. Homework is an essential part of school learning, because the active repetition of the material taught in school is used to repeat and consolidate the knowledge acquired with homework. Often times, parents wonder how to look after their child Fun learning can convey how you can motivate your child! A lot of important questions arise: Did and do the parents themselves have fun learning? What are the parents' own experiences with their own learning? With which self-tested means do you want to motivate your child? Have these means even worked for you? What are the memories of it like? Was it more of a pain or was it a pleasure?

However, homework is a central conflict issue in everyday school life and in families, because teachers discuss the type and scope of homework with their students, parents argue with their children about the timely and careful completion of homework, students come into conflict with themselves, because they find other things more interesting than what they consider to be pointless and bland homework, especially during puberty. Learning and practicing at most for upcoming schoolwork and exams leads some students to a certain degree of commitment to homework.

According to the study "Parent-Teacher-School Success" (2013) in Germany, the effectiveness of the exercise and teaching methods used by parents is hardly a subject of critical reflection, so that empirical studies have repeatedly found that the vast majority of families ( over 80%) the quality of homework supervision by the parents is suboptimal. Ultimately, the following applies: Although many parents learn with their children after school, they naturally lack the didactic insight into how they can motivate their children to develop joy in learning. This often creates enormous pressure in families

Half an hour to an hour at most Elementary school children Use each day to consolidate content learned in class with homework or to prepare for a new topic. This is a sensible rule if there are no problems with homework, i.e. if the students are not overwhelmed and can do their homework independently. However, for some parents, afternoon homework is a source of conflict as they feel responsible for their children's success in school. According to a survey in Austria, 46 percent of parents regularly help with homework. Many parents feel overwhelmed when it comes to homework problems or learning problems in general. This is often because some children find it difficult to organize themselves when learning, to plan for the long term and to work independently. Parents should be aware that this is a slow learning process that they need to support. Above all, it would be useful if it were methodical Learning tips for effective homework or to convey abstract learning content to the children so that they can enjoy learning and gradually build self-confidence.

The common problems in connection with homework are included if the child ...

    • ... doesn't know what homework to do.
    • ... is tired and exhausted and does not feel like doing homework.
    • ... is unfocused and keeps interrupting his homework.
    • ... are torn out of concentration by the reminders of the parents.
    • ... doesn't understand homework.
    • ... needs help with homework, but does not want to accept the help of his parents, so that there are constant power struggles.
    • ... withholding homework in order not to lose his free time.
    • ... time pressure due to planned activities.

The topic of homework belongs in Teacher talk or on the Parents evening, because there it should be clarified how much time the students are allowed to spend on homework. By the way, homework may not be graded, since it cannot be proven that it represents a performance performed by students, unless the homework is included in the lesson and this results in oral performance that has to be performed in the school. Clear rules should be agreed on how parents should react if a child fails to do their homework cope with the agreed time can:

  • Should the child then stay longer doing their homework?
  • Should they be allowed to stop homework after the set time?
  • Is it possible to catch up on homework that has not been done at the weekend?
  • Is there any control over whether the children may have too much homework to do?

The more consistently and regularly a child does their homework, the stronger they become more normal Part of everyday lifeso that the question of whether or not homework has to be done no longer arises. A daily working time for homework becomes a matter of course, although deviations from this rule are of course possible, but should remain the exception.

According to Frank M. Spinath (Saarbrücken), the Parents' influence on children's school performance is often overestimated. Above all, they play a central role in the performance of pupils intelligence and the Working memory of a child, i.e. the ability to keep something in mind at the same time and to work with it flexibly. It also has an influence whether a child recognizes his strengths and then values ​​them and uses them accordingly - ultimately those motivation. Primarily acts here intrinsic motivationif a child enjoys learning, is interested in the subject itself, is inquisitive, wants to know more about a subject area, i.e. is motivated by the learning content itself. The secondary, extrinsic motivation is the hope of good grades, the expectation of praise and recognition, or the attempt not to disappoint other people, mostly parents or teachers. However, a child always learns most effectively when it does so out of an interest in the matter itself, i.e. out of intrinsic motivation, whereby the child then usually does not perceive the workload as being as high as it actually is. Therefore, it is always important for parents to challenge children to come to minimal intrinsic motivation, i.e. to learn for the reason in order to understand a state of affairs.

In addition come Environmental influences, for example the circle of friends. There are parents who largely support their children in school matters in their autonomy and parents who wanted to encourage their children to perform better in school with pressure and rewards, i.e. through increased control). In many cases, control is counterproductive and can lead to excessive demands.

From an event announcement:
Parents should be encouraged to "very friendly“To accompany you in your learning.

Help vs. meddling

Division of responsibility between school and parents
The school is responsible for learning processes and education, the parents are responsible for ensuring that the children go to school, have had a good rest and can actively participate in lessons.

In principle, homework and homework are indispensable for the development of the performance level of students, but the right amount and quality are important. Excessive homework tends to hinder learning progress rather than promoting it, because if a student has to ponder over tasks for a long time, he loses motivation and ultimately the pleasure in the subject. Various scientific studies have shown that parents are partly beneficial and partly negative when doing homework. Psychologists from the Berlin Max Planck Institute for Educational Research showed in a study that a 7th grade student achieves a higher level of knowledge at the end of the school year if he independently takes care of the tasks. The less parents know about their children's homework motivation and their homework behavior, the more likely it can be assumed that this will not prove beneficial. Alois Niggli (University of Education in Freiburg) showed in a study that parents were mostly unsolicited meddle in homeworkwhen students perform poorly. However, the interference of parents does not lead to better performance, but to worse, which is why parents then interfere even more, so that a vicious circle arises that can lead to extremely stressful situations that are counterproductive and pointless for the learning process. Undesired interference destroys motivation and confidence and consequently performance. The control question from the mother and the well-intentioned tips from the father are also experienced by children as interference. For the Differentiation between helping and meddling only the child's perception is relevant. Parents should only help when children and adolescents ask their parents for help, because this help improves performance. And even in these cases, sometimes a indirect help be cheaper than a direct one. It is natural for children to need help and support with homework again and again, but providing solutions does not encourage independent work. It is cheaper if you only help your child indirectly so that they can solve the problem themselves and be proud of their performance. One can recommend the child to look up a term in a book or encyclopedia or on the Internet.

In an interview, Wolfgang Endres recommends that parents should not always be approachable, above all parents - and here mostly mothers - should be constantly ready to do their homework, because children often experience this as stress. Parents are allowed to signal to their children that they just need a break in order to be there for them again later, because in a positive sense this also trains a certain serenity. In Endres' view, it drives some parents crazy if children only start their homework in the evening, but many need a break after school and first want to have their peace and quiet, which they should be allowed to do. If parents watch their children closely, they can discover, for example, that displeasure can often also be an expression of tiredness.

See the checklist for whether a child needs parental help with homework.

The latest studies show that parents are much more important than teachers for learning and school success. Parents have a decisive influence on the motivation and learning behavior of their children. The book shows parents what importance their own attitude towards school and learning has for their offspring.

Hence the question arises: Should you do it at all, and if so, how should you do it?

Basically The following applies: A child should be able to cope with school on their own. However, many parents find it difficult to withdraw to an "accompanying" and "controlling" function. The Austrian School Education Act, for example, states that homework should be chosen so that students can do them without outside help can perform. In reality, however, more than half of the parents help their children with it, but they are often overwhelmed by it. The evaluation of a related study in Austria showed that every fifth student receives an average of two hours of tutoring per week and the proportion of tutoring students in secondary and secondary schools is roughly the same. The time spent by the tutor at home for school is also around an hour higher than the time spent by a non-tutor (cf. Wagner, Spiel & Tranker 2003, p. 235 f).

Parents as tutors?

In a question and answer community, a poster writes on this topic (abbreviated; W. S.): "Getting tutoring from someone close can quickly become problematic. If the tutoring turns out to be emotionally problematic, then the" neutral "help in the subject (math, Latin, whatever ...) has mixed up with the personal the learner can feel humiliated, inferior, humiliated. The helper walks on eggs, is surrounded by fat bowls, sometimes down to a minefield. At the smallest step there is an explosion, no matter where you step. ;-) I can still remember it remember that my father sometimes helped me with maths. When he made a judgmental remark (eg: "What, you still can't do fractions?" or something like that ...), then I was quick hurt or ashamed of my “stupidity.” To avoid that, I preferred to think for two hours on my own in order to save myself this “humiliation.” Even if such remarks are usually not meant in that way, one still wants the love of someone close to me bt and be respected, and that is not so easy in a helper situation. Tutoring with a stranger is much less problematic. During my studies and afterwards, I often gave tutoring. The memories of the situations with my father are still there and they help me to be mindful, to be respectful of the learner. So my uncomfortable experience wasn't entirely in vain. :-) "

Parents should bear in mind that if they do not provide help, the teacher gets a wrong idea of ​​the possibilities of the lesson and therefore demands more than is necessary. There is a spiral of pressure to perform here!

tip: If you as a parent exceptionally If you want to learn or practice together with your children, you should never do that if you happen to have some time to practice together, but should agree on a fixed time in good time, which has a certain distance from the normal homework, in order to make something special document the exception. You should also stick to the agreed time frame - we recommend short periods of maximum 20 minutes! - and do not exceed this, for example if something has not been completed, but you should then agree on a new practice or learning period.

"Why does this child write bad grades on the test when they have always done their homework well? Maybe Mummy ask! She's already doing more as a school ghostwriter than she'd like."
Quotation from the article "Homework is often the achievement of the parents" of the standard from January 11th, 2011

The child should practice and deepen what he has learned in school with the help of tasks. That's the point of homework. In addition, teachers can tell from their homework whether all children have understood the material. But that can only work if the children have done the tasks on their own. Parents should speak to the teachers if the children have problems with the assignments. Fourth grade elementary school students, for example, should do one hour of homework a day, younger children accordingly less. This is usually suggested by the official guidelines and curricula. But children cannot do something on their own overnight if they have not learned it beforehand. Parents should therefore take care to leave responsibility to young children of preschool age.

This is a central term in psychology Self management, which means that someone who is able to solve problems independently, not only copes better with everyday life in school, work and private life, but is also immune to many mental disorders. Even children in primary school can learn self-management, although this must be done in accordance with their age, i.e. they must not be overwhelmed. If children are only supposed to be independent so that adults have peace and quiet, they will fail. The task of parents in self-management education is to help people to help themselves, to help with organization and planning.Parents should and cannot be tutors, but they can be advisors.

individual responsibility it is best to learn early - for example when tidying up the children's room, which is an ideal practice field for the first tasks after the game. Here toddlers can learn to tidy up and keep their things tidy themselves. At first they cannot do this on their own, so mother and father have to help at the beginning. They can show their children as role models how to tidy up and keep things tidy. Small, manageable tasks are important because a child cannot tidy up the whole living room.

Ultimately, children should learn to do their jobs on their own. Teachers and parents have to introduce them to this independence. Even the first graders can learn to pack their school bags on their own and keep them in order. No mother has to carry or pack her child's bag. The child should learn at an early age to organize their own time in order to be able to develop strategies later on when and how they can learn best. Of course, it takes a child some time to internalize this. If schoolchildren feel overwhelmed with the number of tasks, it helps if the mother or father dose the tasks. See the learning tip "Management for School".

Often times, however, it is difficult for a child to start because they see so much in front of them that they do not even know where to start. As a parent, get a list of what needs to be done and then ask what the child would most like to start with. But then it is important to withdraw once. In any case, parents should only give the impulse to start.

One of the problems many pupils have with more extensive tasks is often Procrastination and procrastination - the Procrastination. The work is pushed back until there is no more time to finish it satisfactorily.

You feel uncomfortable all the time, namely before work, during work and even afterwards. There are various reasons for postponing it

  • Your child doesn't know how to cope with a task. Show your child that you are always by their side. So if your child doesn't know how to solve a task, but you don't know either yourself, look for answers with your child, such as: B. in encyclopedias or on the Internet. It is also beneficial if you could provide your child with an acquaintance of yours who is competent in this matter.
  • Your child does not yet have sufficient experience working on more complex topics. Here it makes sense to take one step at a time. Suggest that your child solves the difficult part of the task first, then the initial difficulties no longer hold back and the rest almost goes by itself.
  • Your child is afraid that they will not do their job well. With this attitude, of course, it makes sense not to start with anything! Encourage your child: you just have to try!
  • Your child prefers to do something else. Help your child practice self-discipline. Make it clear that homework comes first!
  • Your child wants to do everything perfectly. A thing has often failed to come about because it was supposed to be too perfect! Explain to your child that it is normal for a job to look like a construction site as it is being created. Set correction deadlines with your child so that a piece of work can be regarded as finished after the second correction, for example. Because a "perfect" job is otherwise never finally finished!

Homework should deepen what has been learned in school, prepare for further lessons and encourage independent and independent work. But also some Teachers Homework doesn't seem to be of much interest to you because it is often given out quickly at the end of the lesson. Traditional rules such as "ten minutes of homework per day and school year" are unsuitable according to recent research, because while the best pupil needs five minutes, the slowest pupil needs thirty minutes. Many studies show that it is precisely those schoolgirls who are not very motivated who spend the longest on homework. Inge Schnyder (Freiburg University of Education) complains that homework is a potential that is underutilized, because in a 45-minute school lesson a student has to adapt to the learning pace of the class and it takes 2 minutes, with 20 minutes of homework it is ten times actively involved for longer. Schnyder has examined the connection between homework and learning success and has come to the conclusion that committed, careful homework behavior is consistently associated with higher performance and better performance development. But: The mere time that students spend on homework not only does not play a role, it is even negatively linked to success: Long brooding over homework does not lead to better, but rather poorer performance, even for students with the same level Talent. Anyone who learns for a long time is therefore a long way from learning, rather a particularly long time doing homework indicates a lack of motivation or incorrect learning strategies. The best performance development, on the other hand, is shown by those students who approach their homework with care. Therefore, homework should neither be too demanding nor too demanding, but rather one affordable challenge Offer. When students find homework interesting and useful, they do it more carefully, which in turn leads to better achievement.

By the way: In the nineties of the last century homework in a Swiss canton was abolished on an experimental basis, so that for a few years the Schwyz pupils did their homework at school instead of at home. A review showed that school performance did not deteriorate as a result and there was less stress and arguments in the families. Nevertheless, the attempt was ended after massive parental protests.

In addition to performance, homework should above all promote so-called self-regulated learning, i.e. independent work. Therefore, they also have an educational value, as the pupils should learn in this way to fulfill their duties reliably and punctually and to set priorities. However, some students are overwhelmed with their homework in terms of time or content, so that they are often done carelessly or not at all. From the parents' point of view, it is important to create favorable framework conditions for homework. This includes a relaxed and calm atmosphere in which the child feels comfortable and can concentrate on their work, a regular daily routine in which homework has its permanent place. After school there should be at least an hour for lunch and recreation stay.

Recommend this book to primary school teachers

Harris Cooper, professor of psychology and neuroscience, wrote down his research on homework in his book "The Battle over Homework". He cites five reasons that speak against homework, because it takes away children’s childhood and the joy of learning, because the brains of elementary school children are not yet so developed that they can develop self-discipline and responsibility through homework. One forgets that elementary school students in particular are just children who need time to play and discover. Although exercise is important at this age, children often spend hours doing homework. After completing kindergarten, switching to elementary school, where you sit patiently for many hours and also have to concentrate, movement for learning is extremely important. The ability to concentrate at this age is simply not enough to still work on homework at home, because outside of school a child primarily needs relaxation from the exertion of school. In addition, through homework, children associate school with exertion and a negative feeling. Often the relationship between parents and their children also suffers as a result, mostly in the long term, since conflicts often arise from homework.

See also What can parents specifically do with homework?

Literature tips:

Sources & Literature: (06-12-12) (06-12-12) (08-01-011) (08-04-04) (08-10-23) (08-09-06) (09-03-15) (10-02-25)
Bracht, Thea (2013). Learn the right way to learn. Interview with Wolfgang Endres.
Stuttgarter Zeitung of February 18, 2013
Wagner, P., Spiel, C. & Tranker, M. (2003). Who takes tuition? An analysis in secondary schools and high schools. Journal of Educational Psychology, 17, 233-243.

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