Homework clubs and the benefits they have for pupils’ learning rates

‘Homework’  – a word which will often strike fear into the hearts of students and parents alike; often causing friction within the home.

Despite the burden it can become in the home, homework is designed to help students learn by simply practicing things they have been learning in the classroom. This helps students to retain the information better and fortifies a topic or new skill in their mind.

Unfortunately, it can also often be the cause of stress and anxiety at home when a student resists doing it, doesn’t enjoy it and a parent doesn’t know how to help.

Not all students respond to homework in the same way, but homework does have some clear advantages.

By completing homework, a student:

✔ Retains information better

✔ Learns how to work independently

✔ Learns responsibility

✔ Learns to manage their time

✔ Understands a topic more clearly

What is a homework club?

homework club is a place where your child can complete their homework in a supportive environment outside the classroom and away from any distractions at home.

What are the benefits of a homework club?

Some children are so self-motivated that they are able to work diligently on their homework and can tune out of the distractions of normal family life – but not everyone finds it so easy.

Homework requires a quiet space to work at home and support from you. If your job or other children make it tricky to provide those things you might want to consider the option of a homework club for your child.

A homework club can solve and turnaround the problems parents and students have with homework. Benefits include:

  • Stress overload will be avoided in the home – by completing homework in a neutral environment, the home space will be protected and reserved for feeling at ease.
  • Students will be able to rest at home – a large amount of homework often causes a student to receive very little rest. Homework club will restore a sense of balance
  • At home it can be tempting for you to try to help with homework too much which defeats the purpose. A teacher at a homework club understands how to get the balance right and has the time and patience to do so
  • Homework can prevent children to going to bed on time, particularly if they are procrastinating. Sleep is as important as nutrition and exercise – your child’s brain needs sleep for optimum learning and attention. If homework is encroaching on the NHS guidelines to how much sleep your child needs, a homework club will help schedule it.
  • Homework can also prevent children from doing household chores if they are spending time procrastinating over their homework. It is a good idea for your child to learn do some household chores to equip them with the skills they need to be independent, capable and motivated. A homework club will get the student to do the homework efficiently and on time, leaving more time for a few household tasks
  • Homework can cut into family time and social time. One thing most parents feel is that they never seem to have enough quality time with their children. Work, school and other commitments separate you, so when you do see your child you want that time to be positive and enjoyable, not battling over homework. A homework club will provide a parent with the time to complete their own chores so that when you spend time with your child you can have some fun
  • You may know the answers to your child’s homework and you may have even done a degree in the subject, but that doesn’t mean you know how to teach it. At a homework club, there are teachers on hand who are experts in teaching techniques and will quickly be able to adjust their technique to suit your child’s needs
  • Alternatively, you may not always know the answers to your child’s homework and you may not be able to help them if they are struggling. You may also subconsciously transfer negative feelings, emotions and attitudes onto your child about a subject you struggled with at school

The science of homework

Homework is not just about improving grades as it also has a wider purpose – to shape children into mature, lifelong learners.

Research by Postdoc Academy of the Hector Research Institute of Education Sciences and Psychology found that homework not only enhances academic performance, but more effort in students’ homework is associated with a more positive development in conscientiousness. This is understandable – if a child begins to enjoy their homework, they will want to do the best they can so they can be proud of it.

In this way, quality, developmentally appropriate homework plays a large part in the cultivation of positive self-belief in a child’s academic ability and their higher aspirations for their future.

Research has long established that positive beliefs in learning achieves motivation and influences the types of careers that children choose. Homework can teach children to find a positive challenge in facing problems and develop a resilience to difficulty. These positive beliefs serve as a mental strength when children experience challenge or failure throughout their lives.

Carol Dweck of Stanford University is a psychologist and motivation researcher who says that children with a ‘growth mindset’ (as opposed to a ‘fixed mindset’) will put more effort into their homework.

This is because those children with a growth mindset believe that their talent and intelligence can be further developed through homework and so will put more effort into their school work.

In contrast, those with a fixed mindset close their minds to homework, often feeling they do not have the ability and they can’t change that, with any mistakes they make simply serving to cement this belief.

Neurologist Judy Willis looks at engaging student’s brains with homework and also supports the theory that when students know the effort they put into homework will enhance their enjoyment of classroom learning, they become more motivated.

In primary schools, online homework games such as Times Table Rockstars seek to engage students at a young age, while at secondary school students are more engaged, providing their homework is directly relevant to their studies.

The role of parents and teachers  

Teachers and parents have an important role to play in children’s self-belief and homework is a key tool to encourage motivation due to the smaller adult/child ratio – as opposed to a school classroom environment where children can be overlooked.

This is where you can make a difference to your child’s attitude towards homework. It is vital that you provide support in establishing a homework routine and eliminate any distractions. This encourages children and creates an environment which is conducive to learning.

Sometimes a well-intentioned parent can negatively impact a child’s positive learning belief during homework time. You may help your child too much, or you may not be able to help them enough.

It’s hard to find a balance and to know when to step in if you are not a trained teacher. A parent who helps too much could inadvertently cause a child to become lazy, dependent and reliant and your child could struggle in a future exam if they don’t know the answer.

However, if they receive too little support a child could miss out on some crucial learning and misunderstand some concepts that simply take an adult to guide them.

Homework club and different learning styles

At a homework club, the teachers on hand to help will be experienced in teaching many different children, each with a preferred way of learning. They will know how to explain homework to each child, to ensure they fully understand what they are required to do.

Teachers at a homework club will quickly be able to see how your child takes in and recalls information, whether:

  • Visual
  • Auditory
  • Kinesthetic

or a mixture. This will ensure each child can improve their communication and decrease any frustration, enabling them to complete their homework more effectively. 

Homework clubs have many benefits for both you and your child. There is no doubt that homework provides an important link between home, school and curriculum. Attending a homework club will help your child develop positive learning skills, habits and an attitude that they will use throughout their life and in turn – you will both benefit from a more relaxed home environment.