School Homework Tip ListWays to turn the nightly routine into brain-building fun...make a change this school year!
You can make homework fun and gain the long-term benefits of better cognitive abilities. These techniques can help your child build up the mental tools that help them think, reason, and pay attention. Those stronger mental skills will not only help them do schoolwork faster and better, it will actually help them get smarter.
Before you start:
- Adopt an attitude of, "homework can be fun!" Your kids will take their cues from you and will quickly learn that homework can be challenging, rewarding, and even enjoyable.
- Help your children develop a written homework plan that includes timelines and goals, using whatever tools are the most appealing to them: computer, notebook, giant calendar page, blackboard, sticky notes on the refrigerator door, even dry-erase markers on their bedroom window. Anything will work, as long as it's something they find fun.
- Develop a reward system that promises more fun. Create a system that works for your family and budget. One possibility uses fun tickets as motivation. Each time your child earns a reward, give him a ticket toward a set goal: movies with mom, breakfast in bed, extra TV time or a special trip to the playground. Making the rewards something memorable rather than monetary will inspire long-term positive attitudes regarding homework.
- Feed your child first. As soon as kids get home from school, they should eat a "meal" which consists of a portion of carbohydrates, protein, and fat. The point is: food has to go in before homework goes on. Eating is critical for homework to be effective. Kids would be short-changing themselves in terms of production, concentration, and productivity if they try to do brain work on an empty stomach.
- Set the stage. Find a place to do homework, and make sure supplies are ready.
- Get geared up to pour on the praise and build confidence. When your child finishes one of his/her homework activities, always reward them with a "great job".
Building brain skills during homework:
- Break down assignments into smaller chunks. This is especially helpful if your child suffers from attention problems. Use a stopwatch to time your child to see how long they can pay attention to a task before giving up, then encourage them to go longer during the next timed round. This will work on sustained attention and will help your kids become independent learners. Don't be afraid to break the homework session into two to three chunks as well, and remember to time the breaks too.
2. Give your child two tasks at once. Test him on his spelling words while he's doing a math problem, drawing a picture, or simply packing up his homework. While he's spelling the word aloud, make sure he doesn't stop the other activity. This challenging exercise is harder than it may seem and will grow the divided attention skills that will help people multi-task or listen to directions while working.
3. Play charades. Have your child demonstrate or act out what a word or concept means. This can build the skill of comprehension and visual processing.
4. Let your children play teacher. Letting them teach you a skill or concept that they're working on will improve their understanding of the concept and will build logic and reasoning skills. Let your kids "test" you, and let them determine a fitting reward if you pass their exams!5. Put spelling words or vocabulary words in a word search using www.puzzle-maker.com, then give your kids clues as to where to find them, such as "It starts in the upper left and runs right." This will help them learn the words, and will build auditory and visual processing skills. If you have them type the words into the puzzle-maker list, it'll help them learn the words and practice keyboarding.
These tips can make homework more fun and rewarding in the long term. The general standard for homework amounts is 10 minutes multiplied by grade level. If your child is spending significantly more time than that, please contact me for help and suggestions.
Also, if your child is still feeling upset or frustrated after 40 minutes… STOP. Send me a note or an e-mail and I will work with your child in school.
Thanks in advance for being part of your child’s learning team.