Tutor's top tips: 15 ways to get kids to do their homework

Boy writing in a notepad doing his school work spelling or homework

Suffolk primary schools are set to re-open as normal on Tuesday, January 5 unless headteachers decide otherwise - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

For many pupils, the final ring of the bell means freedom. 

Yet come teatime, the dreaded homework comes out. 

So how can Norwich parents keep their children - whether they attend school or are taught at home - engaged with their after hours academic tasks. 

Ros Cordiner has been a teacher for 45 years, and shared her experience on how to keep kids learning outside the school gates. 

Mrs Cordiner has worked in a range of schools - including the Norwich High School for Girls  where she taught for almost 20 years. 


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She gave up mainstream teaching in Easter, saying:  "I wanted the freedom to offer what my experience told me was the right way to teach."

She now has that as she works as a private tutor for the city's young people, offering classes face to face and online. 

Ros Cordiner has 45 years of experience in tutoring. 

Ros Cordiner has 45 years of experience in tutoring. - Credit: Ros Cordiner

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So, what are Mrs Cordiners top tips for keeping children engaged in their learning?

1. Have a quiet and uncluttered place to work with a suitable work desk/table

2. Offer incentives but not punishments.

3. Where possible, keep other children out of the way!

Work before school instead of afterwards, a former teacher has advised. 

Work before school instead of afterwards, a former teacher has advised.  - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

4. It’s better to do the work before school rather than after or in the mornings at weekends. They are often too tired after school.

5. Start from the child’s interests and fit in what you need to teach from that base where possible. Choose a subject they are interested in and see how you can fit that into as many subjects as possible.

6. Find out what they’re doing at school and engage with that when possible.

7. Don’t ignore modern technology – use iPhones, iPads and laptops as and when is necessary.

8. When reading together, join in.

You can read some and play “fill in the missing word” and you can read a paragraph or a page or a line even, each, taking it in turns.

9.  Don’t argue over school methods.  

If unsure, check it out with the school as they’d be only too pleased to advise you as it will benefit them and the child if more help is forthcoming so long as it’s in a similar vein and not confusing.

10. Don’t do it for them! 

Guide them but they must learn to think and reason.

11. Keep the timing short.

A maximum of 30 minutes for under sevens and up to an hour for children of eight and over. 

Try and have biscuits and a drink available while working.

12.  Use the government sites to find out what level the children need to be at for their year group.

These sites will also give methods and examples.

13. Encourage a small amount of learning by memory – tables, spellings, maths language – but keep it small and give it a “fun” check each week.

14.  Encourage mental maths and times table learning on car journeys to school!

Do times tables in the car to break up learning styles, a tutor has advised. 

Do times tables in the car to break up learning styles, a tutor has advised. - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

15. Don’t shout or get angry.

Take the emotion out of it. Any additional learning will benefit the child so long as it’s done in happy environment.

If you are a young person who has a story to tell or would be interested in having your voice heard in the paper, please contact Sophie Skyring via sophie.skyring@archant.co.uk     


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