My son frequently brings home research homeworks and I end up doing most of them for him. How can he possibly tackle them on his own?

Begin by checking he understands the purpose of the task. Is it a general introduction to a person or place, or does he have to find specific information? Sit with him at first, and do one together so that he can follow your lead next time.

Show him it is all about key words. Decide on the best ones to put into the search engine and judge the type of content that comes up.

If he is under 7 years old, put ‘KS1’ into the search engine before the key words, if he is between 7 and 11 years old, put ‘KS2’ and if he is between 11 and 13 years old, put ‘KS3’ first. These education terms will lead him to the most appropriate – and readable – content.

Once a useful site appears, teach him to look for the absolute specifics that he needs. Cut and paste key sections on to a word document and re-read them. Present research as a series of titles and simple sentences or bullet points. Use quotation and key facts where they are directly useful, but the sentences should be in his own words.

The trick is to stick tightly to the same set of rules each time:

  1. What does your teacher really want to know?
  2. Can that be broken into 2 or 3 simple questions?
  3. Which words are best to type into google for the first section?
  4. Remember to type the Key Stage first (see above).
  5. What is the answer to each question?
  6. Write the answer simply in your own words.

And if you want to finish it off with aplomb, add a picture and a simple title.