How to Make Homework Painless
By Randi Morse
When my kids were very young I discovered how quickly they lost skills over the summer months. It almost seems like half of everything they had learned during school simply banished from their minds. So, the next summer, I got some age-appropriate workbooks and required that they do a few pages in each workbook once a day. It was then that I discovered how difficult it can be to be a parent and a teacher at the same time. If you are trying to work with your kids at home, whether you're homeschooling or just trying to get them to do homework, here are a few tips that can help.
Set Aside a Workspace
When children are at school they have work desks or assigned seating at tables. Sitting down at this spot helps their mind to recognize that it's time to get to work. If possible, set aside a specific place in your home for your child to do their work. Try to avoid using the dining room table, instead get a small table and put it in an area of the home that is away from distractions.
Set Aside Specific Time
Children thrive on routine, which is one reason why teaching from home can be difficult. Every school has a very specific routine, and children are used to this. When they are home, their minds tend to have a difficult time focusing because they don't have a routine. If you are trying to work with your child at home, set a routine, a specific time during the day when they will be working on their homework. Try not to vary from this routine unless it's absolutely necessary.
Set Up a Reward System
Another way schools help children to be productive is to have reward systems. Think of how us adults have our own reward systems; for example, we get through a long workday by imagining what we're going to do Friday night or during the weekend. Children thrive on the same type of reward system, but with children having small rewards, as well as large ones, seems to work best. If your child is in love with a video game, explain that they need to get their homework done before they are allowed to play the game. Have them work for 20 minutes at a time and give them 10 minutes to goof around, but only allow them to play that video game once they've gotten all of their work done. The 10 minutes of goof-off time is the reward for focusing for 20 minutes, while the video game is the reward for getting everything done.
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