Charlie Spiller, Head of Primary Courses shares three ways you can help your child do homework more effectively. 

1. Help with comprehension homework (without answering the questions!)

Research shows that comprehension is closely linked to topic knowledge. This means that your child will be able to read and understand the passage better if you discuss the theme of the passage and share your experiences, opinions and knowledge with him. For example, if the comprehension text is about ‘Heroes’, tell your child about your own, explaining why you thought this and encourage your child to ask you questions. Try this out with your child on the way to school, or even over dinner. While you aren’t helping them write their answers directly, you will be helping them be better readers. Longer term, this will help them complete reading based homework more quickly.  

2. Getting started with composition

Many students can sit and stare at a blank page for hours, not knowing how to get started. If you've seen your child experience this, you must have felt frustrated. At the British Council, we very much believe in the maxim ‘if you can say it, you can write it’. Spend five minutes talking through the composition topic with your child before they start to write. This can really help them generate plots, organise their thoughts and select better ideas. This means they can start writing with confidence. As they are worrying less about the content, they can pay more attention to accuracy. 

3. The wrong answer is the best answer

In our classes we often encourage our students to justify their answers even when they are correct to help deepen their understanding of language concepts. This is something you can do at home to make homework more effective. For example, if your child chooses A in a Vocabulary or Grammar MCQ, get them to explain to you why B, C and D are incorrect. Again, even spending a few minutes on a single worked example can help your child complete the remainder of the activity more effectively.


By Charlie Spiller

Head of Primary Courses