How To Make Homework Fun For Kids
Homework ... Fun or Stressful?
Whether or not you agree with the concept, homework is a reality for almost all school children.
If your household is like mine, homework time has the potential to be very stressful indeed - not only for the kids, but for the whole family.
Over time, I've discovered ways to turn the inevitable chore of homework into something fun and even a time to look forward to.
I share my tips here with you in the hope that I will help bring some peace and sanity into your home when the books come out!
Let Your Child Be the Teacher
The very best way to learn anything is to explain it to someone else.
Younger children love play acting, and the opportunity to reverse roles with an adult often has joyful, surprising and sometimes hilarious results.
Choose a subject that your children are revising. Then let them pretend to be the teacher while you become their student. Have them explain part of the subject to you. Play the game ... ask questions (the occasional silly one can help), request examples of how things are done, half answer and then ask for help.
Your imagination is the limit, and your children will have a whole lot of fun without even realising they're learning.
- Plan ahead
- Divide homework into small sections
- Use a timer for fun and speed
- Reward for achievements
- Let your child teach you
- Role play
- Give fun real life examples
- Make homework a game
- Allow it to be quality time with you
Planning really is essential when it comes to homework help.
Homework is much more approachable if it's broken up into small, manageable sections.
If you can help your children organise their homework into neat little chunks to be completed each day, they will get used to the routine and it won't seem so daunting. Completing each section will become an achievement in itself, which will in turn encourage them to keep going.
Lots of fun can be had by using a timer. I give ten minutes to complete as much as possible. Just for a laugh, I set my phone timer to make the most ridiculous sounds when the time runs out. Competing against themselves and each other can make the time go fast, and lots gets done.
You can reward for each section being finished if you like, or reward for all the planned sections for the day being completed.
Rewards can be as simple as a sticker on a chart - it doesn't have to be expensive! You know your children best, so it's up to you.
Give Real Life Examples
Often homework seems pointless to children.
If you can show them how to use something they are learning in real life, suddenly it all becomes a lot more interesting.
For example, show them something written with appalling spelling so they can have a laugh trying to work out what it means, and correcting it.
Alternatively, draw a picture of what ridiculous situations might arise if someone miscalculated how wide to make a road.
If the homework is about something you can show your children, such as something in nature or local history, take them out, explore with them, and let them experience things.
The more entertaining the better - children learn best when playing.
Turn Homework Into a Game
If homework becomes quality time spent with you, the kids will enjoy it a lot more.
- Turn math questions into a fun, tv style game show quiz, complete with buzzers.
- Hold a pretend spelling bee.
- Play a board game where a correct answer allows a move or an advantage.
- Cards and dice are wonderful when it comes to learning numbers.
If it's possible in your area, take the questions outside and turn answering them into a ball game, or get them to race to you to answer. Your imagination is the only limit.
Some children work well with visual stimulation, while others are better at learning by listening. Some like to understand before they go ahead with a problem, while others learn best by doing.
Everyone is different, and the more you understand how your children best learn, the more enjoyable you can make homework time for them.
Often, the best way to do this is to experiment and to see what works. Try explaining something by using a picture, and then another time with a song, and so on.
Reward With Positive Attention
Children thrive on attention, but the difficulty is that often they don't really care if the attention is good or bad. In other words, regardless of whether you are praising them for good behavior, or yelling at them for bad behavior, to them, it's all attention.
The best way to handle this is to actively give attention for a good attitude to homework, and to dismiss negative attitudes without making any unnecessary fuss over them.
If attention is only given for good behavior, then usually good behavior is what you'll get! As children love attention, they will enjoy doing well at their homework because your attention will be a prized reward.
Homework Can Be Fun
There seems to be a universal expectation that homework is boring and something to struggle over.
However, most of the homework given to children today is actually designed to engage and interest them.
The hardest hurdles are to set the routine, get them started and help them before they get frustrated with any questions.
If you maintain the attitude that homework is a fun time, your children will at least have a positive approach, and homework time will be part of the routine rather than a daily stress on family relations.
With a bit of imagination on your behalf, and a positive attitude, you can make it happen.
© 2013 Suzie Armstrong
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