Approaching homework positively
We’ve all heard the familiar retort, “I hate homework!” groaned many times. There is a reason that schools give out homework diaries and ask pupils to get these signed my parents: left to their own devices, many children try to avoid their homework at all costs. The fact remains however that homework is an important part of a child’s education and development. Repetition enhances memory and aids learning, while independent study highlights areas of strength and weaknesses to teachers. Homework also encourages parents to get involved with their child’s education and can even highlight cases when parental support is missing.
Our best piece of advice is to make homework a positive pastime, however tricky this may seem. Persuading children to finish their homework may be the bane of many parents’ evenings, but homework is a chance for children to put their own stamp on their work away from the watchful eyes of teachers and peers whilst solidifying the knowledge they learnt earlier that day. In this post we outline our best tips on how to motivate your child to do their homework. Our homework tips may not lead to exclamations like, “I love homework!” – but the aim is to transform homework into a positive task as opposed to one filled with dread.
Tips for doing homework
Distractions are the enemy of teachers and students alike. Noise, activity close by and other surrounding information can be distracting even when undergoing tasks we have chosen to complete. Therefore removing these distractions when it is time to settle down to homework is really important. If your child is intent on avoiding their homework, they will find any excuse not to do it (you don’t need us to tell you this!).
Exactly what distractions are the most diverting will differ from person to person. Some people concentrate best in silence, while others prefer a low level of background noise. Get this wrong and no noise could actually be more distracting than a buzzy, communal working area. Trial different environments and speak to your child about what they think they prefer and where they work best.
Encouraging your child to choose where they do their homework and what their ‘homework hub’ looks like is a great way to transform it into a positive activity. This element of choice is a clever application of psychology. Independent decision and control over completing their homework takes weight and pressure off and makes it something that they view in a more positive light and take independent ownership of.
There are more elements to effective working environments than those considered at first glance. Light, sound, scent and ergonomics are all factors that can have detrimental impacts on learning when they are wrong or suboptimal. When right, they can enhance learning and performance. Once optimised, because humans learn by association and behaviour is strongly influenced by habit and environment, maintaining these factors will help to foster focus whilst your child is in their homework hub. They know that this is a calm area for study and that they can be loud and active elsewhere later.
Whether they do so independently or with help, completing their homework is an achievement that should be celebrated. Experience of reward will help to motivate your child to do their homework in future. With time, the once tiresome task of requesting your child do their homework should become easier and easier. Again, how completion of homework is celebrated can be partly the choice of your child. What is important is that it is praise or reward that they want to gain. Star charts with prizes work well for some, edible treats and time allowance on Dad’s iPad are a couple of alternative options. You can even change the means of reward week on week – a good way to ensure your child does not grow bored with the outcome and lose motivation to achieve them as a result.
We are passionate about providing Cranmore pupils with plenty of choice and rich experiences. All of our pre and post school activities are held onsite. These include: Breakfast Club, minibus service, choir, music and progress tuition, extended care and After School Club. To find out more about our independent prep school, book your place on an upcoming open morning.