Is homework a nightly battle?
It doesn't have to be - These pro-tips from a real teacher will help
Some kids have no problems completing homework without a fight. Others need help to get into the right mental space to do work. Here are some useful tips that I give students and parents all the time (and something from the list always makes a difference!).
The most basic way you can help your child is to provide a quiet work space where they can sit to do their homework or reading every day. On days they don't have homework, they can do some other educational activities to keep the routine going. We've got some examples for you below!
The best work space for concentrating is:
- In an area that your child already gravitates towards in the home.
- Quiet and comfortable.
- Close to you, in case you need to remind them to get back on task.
- Is uniquely/mostly used just for work.
- Has the tools and supplies that your child needs to do his or her work.
Instead of showing your child the steps to solving a problem, show them how to think! Leading questions are the bread and butter of a good teacher. Good leading questions include: What is the question asking? Where can we find the answer? What strategies did you use in class to solve this kind of problem?
DON’T DO YOUR CHILD'S WORK FOR THEM
This one is pretty obvious, but it’s harder to do in the moment when you see your child struggling. If your child can’t do the work himself, just send a note to the teacher! If work keeps coming back from home complete, your child’s teacher is going to be very confused when class work ends up in failure.
Routine is a key factor in getting things done. However, don't let the homework schedule rule you and your children's lives. Some children do best if they do their work right after they get home from school, some need that time to unwind and refresh. Others may enjoy catching up on reading and homework after dinner or bath time. Work out a schedule, and allow your child to have a say in it - that way you can eliminate any related arguments.
PRACTICE USING TIPS AND TRICKS
Kids receive loads of tips and tricks from their teachers and parents - but don’t always use them. Don't forget to be intentional. Trying a trick once or twice does not let it develop into a habit. I recommend consistently using a study or homework technique at least 2 weeks before deciding if it works for your child or not.
No Homework? No problem
Some children don't get regular homework, but that doesn't mean that you must forgo a regular homework routine. Here are some educational activities that they can do at home:
- Write a journal about their day. They could model it after a favourite book like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dear Dumb Diary.
- Record scientific observations in a special notebook of different things: rocks, plants, animals, people.
- Read a book out loud onto recording software to make their own audio book. (Or, make a book review: here!)
- Practice math drills and problem solving. (Khan Academy is a great resource!)
remember: don't fight it!
The best way to avoid the nightly fight, is to take a break and come back. In order to engage in learning, children need to be ready and in a good mental space to focus and put themselves to work. If things aren't working, take a break, offer a snack. Be firm with your boundaries, but - as my sister/mother of two says - do whatever keeps you sane!
Keeping getting smarter,
About the author
Wassim is a teacher and educator in Toronto. He teaches at school by day, and teaches math, robotics, coding and other S.T.E.M at Thorious by night. When not coming up with new projects, Wassim likes to imagine the future.