*Recommended for elementary school aged students from the teachers of the prestigious Hope Technology School
Homework is an essential part of learning, and an opportunity to help your child develop successful study skills.
Homework can also bring a great deal of stress into the home… here are some tips to reduce stress and build success.
1. Everyone Loves Rewards! Find a reward system that works with your child and is age-appropriate… gold stars, points, or bonus allowance money for each assignment completed on time. Post it up on a board somewhere visible, and at the end of every week or month, let your son or daughter cash out! Incentivizing learning is a great motivator.
2. Remove Distractions. For kids trying to do homework, sometimes the smallest distractions are the biggest problem. No TV on in the background. The study space should be isolated and quiet.
3. Inspire! Make sure the study space is inspiring! Find the balance between limiting distractions, yet also keeping personal items and cool posters all around. This will make the study space feel special, not a dungeon to escape from.
4. Schedule & Structure are king and queen of homework time. Most humans–but especially kids–are very habitual. Children usually benefit from having a consistent time and place to do homework. Find a routine that works… come home, eat a snack, play Minecraft for 20 minutes, homework time for 1 hour, dinner. (Switch it around until you find what helps your child the most)
5. Kids need DOWNTIME. School can be stressful. When your son or daughter comes home from school, they might feel the same way you feel coming home from work… worn out. Some kids need some time to play basketball outside, hang out with a friend, or watch an episode on TV before they start their homework. Fun is a must.
6. Monitor the first 5-10 minutes of homework time. Newton was right: a body in motion stays in motion. Often times, getting started and finding the groove is the hardest part. If you help your child get on a roll, momentum can take over for the rest. Check in occasionally based on your child’s needs.
7. Set a Time Limit! Your child will burn out if you are expecting them to spend more time doing homework than their mind and body can handle. Communicate with the teacher to find out how long homework should be taking. Remember that the goal of homework is usually review, not busywork, so talking to the teacher can help you find out if your child’s homework is too challenging or not challenging enough. Be flexible and understanding to help your child know when to feel successful.
8. Need a tutor? Talk to the teacher if you think your child needs extra help–they can help you know where to look. Community sites often have plenty of willing tutors, or maybe try finding a buddy that your child can do homework with. Older kids especially might not want their parents to be their tutors, fyi.