Not all content is created equal: Understanding the best ways to help your child with homework

Looking to help with your child’s homework but not sure where to start? Here are some quick tips to get you going.

Finding the right content for homework
Marina Cilona Young Adult writer and mum of two BA(Hons) Monday, 10 June 2019

Finding the right content to help in the right way can be really difficult. Not only do curricula and syllabi differ by state, but books and websites can be out of date or offer poor quality information.

Here’s how to identify valuable content and filter out the substandard stuff.

Start with knowing what the right content is

Students have more information at their fingertips than ever before. Not just because the internet is a prolific source of data on just about everything, but also due to the fact that more books, scholarly articles, and research reports than ever before have been digitised and made available to the general public.

Unfortunately, the sheer volume of information easily accessible to students makes it hard to separate the truth from the trash. Worse still, citing poor quality sources in projects and homework will not only be noticed by teachers, but will negatively affect the way these assignments are marked.

Some rules of thumb

Quality content is essentially an up-to-date resource that helps you better understand the question or project (preferably with working examples) and written by a credible person, ideally in education or a related field.

Here’s a guide for assessing the credibility of your sources adapted from the C.R.A.A.P (Currency, Relevance, Authority, Accuracy, and Purpose) Test developed by the Meriam Library at California State University.

  • When was the information published?
  • What are the author’s credentials or organisational affiliations?
  • Where does the information come from?
  • Is the information supported by evidence?
  • Has the information undergone a peer review?
  • Does the language or tone seem unbiased and free of emotion?
  • Are there spelling, grammar or typographical errors?
  • What is the purpose of the information? Is it to inform, teach, sell, entertain or persuade?
  • Does the author have any obvious political, ideological, cultural, religious, institutional or personal biases?

Where to find educational resources

Your local or school library is the best place to start. Items in a library catalogue have usually been vetted and deemed credible, helpful, and relevant for students’ schoolwork. Don’t be afraid to get to know the librarian on duty, chat about project requirements, and ask for some recommendations.

The Australian curriculum also has a range of work samples to help you understand what’s expected when it comes to homework projects.

If you’re looking online…

  • Scootle is a national repository of more than 20,000 digital resources aligned to the Australian curriculum. Although it is designed for teachers and students, its Open Education Resources section provides resources available to everyone. Here you’ll find audio, video, and text resources across every school subject.
  • Twinkl is a hub of more than 525,000 teacher-created resources which can be used by anyone, anywhere. The site includes exercises and practice exams, as well as online educational games and study notes.

Finally, if you’re still unsure, you can head to www.commonsensemedia.org for a comprehensive source of app and website reviews. This is also a great way to evaluate appropriate apps for entertainment and downtime.

Looking for more? It’s not easy to find and assess the best resources for homework help, which is why we created our own quality content and mapped it to the Australian curriculum. Get in touch today to discover how we can help your child succeed.

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