Making homework fun for your children, 5 easy tips
Dec 09, 2013
I like a teacher who gives you something to take home
to think about besides homework.
Homework - Some parents cringe at the word, others openly shudder and shake their heads recalling memories of screaming, door slamming, and probably tears. For every child that has gone to school, they have come home with some form of homework, as it has always been an integral part of the education system.
How much homework do students do? Some parents would argue that students spend hours each night toiling away over the books. However, current research suggests that the average student does about one hour of homework a night, and that has held true for the past 50 years.
How much homework should students do? The National PTA follows the guidelines set out by researcher Harris Cooper. 10-20 minutes a night in the first grade, then 10 additional minutes each grade level up to 12th (where the student should be doing roughly 120 minutes a night). High school students may end up doing more, depending on the classes they take.
What are the benefits to homework? Homework usually falls into one of three categories: practice, preparation, or extension. The purpose will always vary by grade and age. At the elementary level, homework is an opportunity to develop good study skills. At the secondary level, homework is tied to greater academic achievement.
So, how can you make the nightly task of doing your homework fun? Here are 5 simple solutions that will work of children of any age.
1) Develop a Regular Routine
After spending all day at school running home and plopping down at a desk does not sound like a fun proposition to anyone, let alone a kid that wants to run and play. Setup a consistent afternoon routine that allows your child to decompress, relax, and re-boot. Often a healthy snack will help to re-fuel your child. It can be a long time between lunch and dinner; a quick boost of energy can bridge that gap nicely.
2) Set Up a Great Homework Area
Part of having a routine is working in a consistent space. Whether it is at the kitchen table or at a desk in their room, having a set space in a quiet distraction-free (and TV-free) area will help build consistent study habits.
3) Tie-in Homework to Everyday Life
Applying a concept or theory that may seem abstract to something that your child can relate to in his/her own life can and will make the material come alive. For instance, if your child is doing a report on immigration have a conversation at the dinner table about your families’ experiences. This not only reinforces the concept in a deeply personal way, it engages the whole family in the learning process.
4) Schedule Breaks
How many times has the phrase, “You are going to sit there until you are done,” been uttered by parents when it comes to homework? If you have said that phrase more than once, try scheduling breaks into your child’s homework routine. Whether it is a quick five-minute break to have a healthy snack or glass of water, to play with the dog or water the garden, giving your child a chance to get up and stretch his/her legs will be extremely beneficial. Studies have also shown that physical activity can help stimulate concentration and cognitive function. Doing a few yoga poses, jumping jacks or a short walk will help keep your child on task and focused.
5) Play Games When Appropriate
What is more fun than playing a game? The act of doing homework can be fun! If your first grader is doing simple math, help him/her visualize addition and subtraction with small toys or marbles. If you are working with an older student, make a game out of finding all of the nouns in a paragraph. Helping your children have fun with the assignments will bring down everyone’s stress level around homework. Be careful, do not get so wrapped up in the fun that you start doing the homework for your child! Parents are there for guidance, not as the answer key.