Homework tips by subject
All schools have a homework policy developed in consultation with the school community. Homework reinforces work done in class and helps develop independence.
Homework is often revision of what was covered in class. As well as regular weekly homework, your child may have assessments such as assignments or projects with due dates. A key to success is being organised.
Students in Years 3 to 6 work more independently. A lot of homework will be in English, mathematics, history and geography. However, it can be set from all areas of the curriculum.
These tips are relevant for all students Kindergarten to Year 12.
- Ask your child about their homework, know what they are learning about and when assignments are due.
- Use our term assessment planner to record when assignments are due, and exams scheduled. This will help your child prepare in advance. Make ‘to-do’ lists to spread out the workload.
- Get into a routine of doing homework at a set time, ideally a little each day.
- Have a set place where children can do their homework, with the equipment they’ll need – pens and pencils, highlighters, scissors, glue, scrap paper, ruler, calculator, printing paper, computer and internet access, a printer.
- If there’s no set homework, encourage your child to do some reading. For younger children, it’s great for them to read aloud to you. For older ones, ask them to tell you about what they have read. For more help with reading and comprehension, read our English tips page.
- Don’t jump in and give answers, homework is about helping children become independent learners.
- Encourage your child to start assignments as soon as they receive them – this will reduce any night-before stress.
- Your child needs to do their own projects and assignments. There’s no point submitting work done by anyone other than the student. Teachers need to know what students can do independently – it’s the best way for planning lessons and additional support, if required.
- Turn off TVs, mobiles and other devices so there are no disruptions.
- If your child is having difficulty with their homework, contact their class teacher for help.
- For help understanding terms used in English, visit English A to Z.
- For help understanding terms used in mathematics, visit Maths A to Z.
Helping with English and literacy
For information sheets, posters and checklists to help with English skills, visit our English help pages.
See English A to Z for a comprehensive glossary of terms used in English studies.
Reading and comprehension tips
To help your child become a more effective reader suggest some of these strategies.
- Predicting – use information from the text, images or your own experience to try and predict what might happen next, how characters might react or what the outcome will be.
- Questioning – ask and answer questions about the text to help children understand the meaning of the text.
- Monitoring – if something doesn’t make sense as you read it, stop, reread and think or discuss what you’ve read to understand the meaning.
- Visualising – it can help to paint a picture in our head of things being described or explained in a text – it helps bring the text to life.
- Making connections – compare what you are reading to:
- something in your own life
- another text you have read or watched
- something happening in the world.
- Summarising – notice the most important things in the text and use your own words to describe what you have read.
All writing has a purpose. Make sure your child is thinking about who they are writing for and why. For example, there’s a difference between writing a letter to a family member when on a holiday and a tourism brochure or story or film set in the same location.
Read your child’s writing or get them to read it to you. Praise them for having a go at writing words that are new to them.
Encourage writing at home by:
- ask your child to keep a diary of special events such as a diary or blog
- have you child label photos or pictures with captions
- make notes, letters and stories regularly
Helping with spelling
Spelling is closely linked to writing and reading. At school, students learn the importance of accurate spelling. When your child asks how to spell a word, always encourage them to have a go first, then discuss their effort and make sure you have a dictionary for checking. If using an online dictionary make sure it is an Australian dictionary, not American. The same goes for a spellcheck on the computer – check the language is set as Australian English.
Look, say, cover, write, check
The follow approach can help when student practise their spelling.
- Look carefully at the word.
- Say the word.
- Cover the word.
- Write the word from memory.
- Uncover and check the spelling against the correct word.
Helping with maths and numeracy
Maths today is about understanding number patterns, not learning by rote. Consider the following when helping your child with maths.
- Stay positive. Don’t say, ‘I was bad at maths too’. It can lower your child’s expectations of themselves.
- Don’t jump in and tell your child the answer or how to get to the answer. Ask: ‘What is the question asking you?’ or ‘How should we go about working this out?’
- Practise times tables. Children who know their times tables are more confident with their numbers and maths in general.
- There is always more than one way to get the right answer. Children are encouraged to work things out in more than one way, as a way to check their answer.
- Talk to the teacher if your child needs more help with their homework.
Need more help with maths?
Visit maths A to Z for a comprehensive glossary of mathematical terms used.