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Posted on in Homework

Girl doing homework

If you’ve ever had issues getting your children to do their homework, then this post is for you. We’ve put together a list of homework strategies that should help avoid arguments when the time comes.

 

No primary school student enjoys doing homework every time it’s due. So, what steps can you take to help them get through those ‘can’t be bothered’ moments? Here are our suggestions:

 

Establish a Homework Routine

 

The best way to deal with homework avoidance is to nip it in the bud before it arises. By establishing a homework routine with your child, you set expectations and boundaries. It’s important that your child is involved in setting the routine – if they feel that they’ve played a part in its creation, they’ll be more likely to follow it through.

 

Try to keep the routine consistent. For example, the rule might be that homework time starts every day at 5pm for periods of 20 minutes with 5-minute breaks in between until it’s complete. You could also agree that any other activities go on hold until homework time is finished.

 

Doing Homework in Different Locations

Boy doing homework at the kitched table

 

Children need a quiet, stimulating place to concentrate. Home offices, kitchen tables and spare bedrooms all make great homework locations, especially if they’re free from distractions.

 

But what can you do when your child needs that extra bit of motivation and the kitchen table just doesn’t look appealing?

 

Well, you can try to mix things up by changing their homework location to a different room in the house. Sometimes a change of scenery is all it takes to motivate your child to get started. Try some unusual locations like the garden, the conservatory, or even the shed if it helps stimulate their creativity.

 

Offer Homework Incentives

 

Sometimes the promise of an incentive can be a good way to motivate your child. Now, we’re not suggesting bribery, but if the promise of an hour playing video games, a trip to the park, or a sweet treat springs your child into action, then that can’t be a bad thing.

 

Just make sure that if you offer an incentive that you follow it through. If you fail to deliver on your promise, that homework strategy won’t work again. Some incentives you may want to try could include:

 

  • Time playing video games
  • A trip to somewhere local that they enjoy
  • A sweet treat
  • The chance to do something they normally aren’t allowed to do (within reason)
  • TV time
  • Time on the internet

 

Build in Homework Breaks

School boy using a mobile phone in the classroom

 

Children under 12 years of age have an average attention span of around 20 minutes. After this time, their concentration levels drop and they become distracted more easily. If your child is faced with a boring homework exercise that they just can’t get motivated for, agree that, to begin with, they only need to spend 20 minutes on the task. To make the exercise a little more fun, you could time the 20-minute period using an egg timer or a stopwatch.

 

Once they’ve completed the first 20-minute period, allow them a 5-minute break to do whatever they want to do, then agree that they need to come back to the task for a further 20 minutes before their next 5-minute break.

 

Allocating regular homework breaks helps break the monotony of boring tasks and gives children something to work towards.

 

Offer Homework Choices

 

If your child has more than one homework task to complete, try giving them the choice of which one to do first. By offering your child the choice, they’ll be more likely to agree to the compromise of at least doing something, instead of nothing at all.

 

Offering homework choices not only puts boundaries in place but encourages your child to make a decision and take responsibility for the task.

 

Consider the Bigger Homework Picture

 

A good homework strategy to introduce is ‘bigger picture thinking’. If your child refuses to do their work on the basis that ‘it’s boring’, ‘pointless’, ‘too difficult’, or any other reason, ask them why they think they’re being asked to do homework in the first place.

 

By asking for their opinion, you’re giving them the opportunity to debate the topic with you, rather than you simply telling them what to do. It won’t be long before your child reaches the conclusion that homework helps them learn, so that they will have more choices available to them in the future.

 

Positives Before Negatives

School girl doing homework with a book

 

Whether your child is struggling to start their homework, or they’re finding a certain task difficult, take the time to reinforce the positive aspects of the situation. For example, if they don’t have the motivation to start, remind them of how well they did on their homework the last time and how good their grade was.

 

If they’re struggling with a certain homework exercise, praise them for the effort that they’ve made so far and the fact that they haven’t given up just because it’s hard. Sometimes, highlighting the positives and giving a little praise is all it takes to inspire your child to push on with the task at hand.

 

Related post:

Our Favourite Homework Games for Primary School Kids

 

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Posted on in Homework

Child doing homework with pen and paper

We’ve already written a post about how to get your child to do their homework but what can you do to help them make the most of homework time? In this post, we share our top homework tips for parents.

 

Establish a Homework Routine

 

One of our most effective homework tips is to set a routine with your child. Doing homework at the same time on the same set day avoids arguments and procrastination. If your child knows that they have homework to do between the hours of 6pm and 7pm every second night, then they’ll be able to arrange other evening activities around these essential hours.

 

Another great homework tip is to do homework early in the evening, ideally, as soon as your child comes home from school. By the time they arrive home, they’ll have had time to unwind from the school day yet will feel fresh enough to tackle an extra hour’s learning. The later your child does their homework, the more tired they’ll be and the less they’ll be able to concentrate.

 

Space Out the Learning

 

Who said homework had to be done all in one go? If your child has a particularly challenging homework task to complete, encourage them to break it down into small chunks. This might mean spending half an hour on the task initially and then having a 15-minute break before returning to complete the rest. Spacing out learning can be particularly effective for large or difficult tasks.

 

Get to Know What the Teacher is Looking For

Teacher in the classroom

Try to find out about your school’s homework policy

 

Every teacher has a slightly different way of assigning homework. Getting to know what your child’s class teacher expects from them can really help you guide your child’s efforts at home. Attending school events, parents’ evenings and conferences can provide a great opportunity to ask questions about homework tasks and gather more information about homework policies.

 

Keep Track of Your Child’s Homework Efforts

 

 

Studies show that we try harder and perform better when we feel that attention is being paid to our efforts. By showing your child that you’re interested in their studies, you’ll encourage them to put in extra effort so that they do well. When your child comes home from school, ask them about their day – did they have any quizzes, tests etc.

And then ask if they have any homework assignments and ask them to explain what the task involves. Once they’ve finished their assignments, check it over with your child and make any suggestions that could improve the work.

 

Set a Good Example Yourself

 

If you have your own paperwork to attend to, either from work or household-related, set a good example by setting aside time to get it done. You may need to balance your books, work out your food budgets, or simply read a book. Children are more likely to follow what their parents do, than what they say.

 

Praise Good Effort

 

If your child has made an extra effort with their homework, show them that you’ve noticed by giving them praise. When we receive praise for something, it encourages us to continue doing well in the future. A simple ‘well done’ is all it takes to make your child feel like they’ve achieved. For particularly good efforts, you may want to reward your child with a treat.

 

Beat the Clock

Sand timer with yellow sand

Homework games can make certain tasks more fun

 

One of our favourite homework tips is to turn tasks into a ‘beat the clock’ game. This can be particularly effective if your child feels demotivated about a certain task or has a ‘boring’ piece of homework to do. Set a timer for a certain period, say half an hour, and set your child the challenge of completing the task within that period. Even if they don’t manage to complete the whole assignment, they’ll still have made a significant start.

 

For some more examples of these types of games, take a look at our post Homework Games for Primary School Kids.

 

Use Checklists

 

Checklists are a great way of ensuring that your child covers everything they need to. If your child has been set a large homework task for the week, creating a checklist helps break it done into smaller, manageable units. Once every task has been complete, your child can use the checklist again to make sure that they haven’t missed anything.  For more advice on checklists, check out our post How to Help Your Child Revise.

 

If They’re Struggling, Get Help

 

If, despite your best efforts, your child is still struggling with their homework, you could consider getting some extra help. This could involve asking for extra help from the class teacher, or hiring a private tutor to help at home. Although a tutor won’t do your child’s homework for them, they will dedicate their time to helping your child understand what they need to do.

 

Hopefully, these homework tips for parents will help you in encouraging your child to make the most of their homework time rather than simply going through the motions.

 

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Posted on in Homework

Young boy with his head in his hands doing his homework

We all remember what it was like to come home from school and be faced with even more school work. As a child, the last thing on their mind is studying, so how do you ensure that they get it done in time for school the next day?

 

In this post, we look at how to get children to do their homework without the arguements.

 

The first thing to remember is that most children don’t enjoy homework. And the second thing to remember is that you can’t make them do it. That’s right, no amount of yelling or bribery will get them to sit down and get it done.

 

So what do you do?

 

Help Them Understand the Benefits of Homework

 

 

Most children see homework and revising as a chore – something that needs to be done to satisfy you as a parent and their teacher. They very rarely see it as something useful. Whenever your child starts to sulk at homework time, try reminding them of the following points:

 

  • In order to get really good at something, you need to put the time in. By explaining to your child that if they want to be good, they need to practice. Sometimes children won’t enjoy their homework because they find it difficult. And to a child difficult equals boring. Let them know that working on things that are hard is what helps improve their understanding.

 

  • Homework will help them as they get older. Although homework doesn’t get any easier, it does children about self-discipline and time management. Explain to them that the skills they use to do their homework are the same skills they’ll need when they have a job. Most kids want to feel older than they are, so this point can be particularly effective.

 

  • It’ll make classwork easier. Putting in that little bit of extra effort will improve your child’s knowledge in class. Tell them that the next time the teacher asks the class a question, they’ll have a better chance of knowing the answer because they already covered it in their homework.

 

Provide a Suitable Learning Environment

Desk with laptop, calculator, notepad and books

A quiet room without distractions makes for a good homework space

 

How encouraged would you feel to study if your space was a cluttered kitchen table? One way to encourage your children to do homework is to make sure that they have an inspiring place to do it. If your home has a study or office, let them use the room for ‘homework time’.

 

In order to create a stimulating study environment, your child needs a well-lit room that’s quiet, comfortable and free from distractions. Remove any TVs, mobile phones, or other gadgets so that they can fully commit their time to studying.

 

It’s equally important that your child has all the resources that they’ll need. Make sure they have paper, pens, a calculator and other stationary and have a laptop on hand that they can use for research if needed.

 

Have a Homework Routine in Place

 

 

One of the best ways to encourage children to do their homework is to have a study routine. If your child follows the same routine every night, they’ll be more likely to do their homework without protest.

 

An effective homework routine could look like this:

 

  • Homework begins at 7pm, after dinner
  • It’s completed in a quiet room with no distractions
  • If they get stuck on something, they move on to the next tasks and come back to it at the end.
  • Nothing else gets done until the homework is completed

 

Enquire About Their Progress and Reward Good Work

girl in pink jumper doing homework

Show your child that you’re interested in what they’re learning about

 

Evidence suggests that our productivity levels increase when we feel that our efforts are being paid attention to. If your child feels like you’re interested in their school work, they’ll be more likely to want to do well.

 

After each homework session, take 5 minutes to look over your child’s work. If they’ve done a good job, tell them that they’ve done well. A little praise can go a long way to getting your child to their homework every night.

 

If it’s obvious that they’ve put in extra effort, consider rewarding them with a treat of some sort. This could be anything from a sweet, to half an hour playing their favourite video game.

 

Do Your Homework at the Same Time

 

If your child is struggling to find the motivation to do their homework, then why not teach by example and do yours too? Agree with your child that you will each do one hour’s homework together, uninterrupted and then you will both be free to go (assuming the work is actually completed).

 

Try do find a space opposite your child, rather than next to them, so they won’t be distracted by what you’re working on. You could spend this time doing any number of things relating to work, or household paperwork.

 

Turn Homework into a Game

 

We’ve written a post before about how to turn homework into a game and it really is a great way to encourage your children to get it done. It could be something as simple as getting them ‘in the zone’ with a few brainteasers, or actively participating in a question/answer game.

 

For more advice on how to help your child complete their homework, check out this video from Hampton Primary School:

 

 

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Posted on in Homework

Girl with a blue jumper sitting at a table doing her homework

Sometimes after a long day at school, homework is the last thing on your child’s mind. Nevertheless, it’s an important part of their education and needs to be given the time it deserves. So what can you as a parent do to make the task more enjoyable?

 

One idea is to turn homework into a game.

 

Who said homework had to be boring? If children enjoy what they’re learning, they’re more likely to remember what they’re being taught. In this post, we look at some homework games you can try with your child to make learning and revising more fun.

 

The Egg Timer Game

A green egg timer on a wooden table

The Egg Timer Game – also known as the Pomodoro Technique

 

The Egg Timer Game offers your child an incentive for dedicating a certain amount of time to doing homework.

 

Start by agreeing some goals with your child and then assign a specific reward for when each time period is complete.

 

For example, you might agree that if your child works uninterrupted for 20 minutes (use a stopwatch or egg timer for added fun) they’ll get 20 minutes of play time – playing their favourite computer game, or watching a TV show.

 

Just make sure that your child understands the bigger picture when it comes to playing the game. You want to them to associate their homework with getting better grades, rather than just receiving treats.

 

The Mouth-watering Maths Game

 

If your child has maths homework, using sweets to help with numbers can turn the experience from a chore into a treat. Addition, subtraction and division exercises are a whole lot more fun when the numbers are replaced with sweets or pieces of chocolate.

 

And for more complex maths exercises, a treat can simply be awarded for correct answers.

 

The Flashcards Spelling Game

Colourful flashcards spread out on a table

Brightly coloured flashcards are a great visual aid for the memory

 

If your child has an assignment that involves remembering information, the flashcards game can be a great way of making homework more fun. This game works particularly well for vocabulary or spelling homework.

 

For example, if your child has vocabulary to learn, have them create flashcards with all the words they need to know. Once they’ve created all the flashcards, test them on their spelling by having them write the word down or speaking it aloud.

 

For all the words they get right, stick the corresponding flashcard to the wall so they can chart their progress.

 

The Playing Teacher Game

 

They say if you want to learn something, go teach it. The Playing Teacher Game involves a little role reversal and lets your child step into the role of educator. This game works particularly well with subjects that require theory, like Science, for example.

 

Have your child explain a concept to you as a teacher. Get them to stand up at the front of the class and fully take on the role.

 

By having them teach you, their understanding of the concept will improve as they begin to fully appreciate the logic and reasoning behind the idea.

 

Online Homework Games

 

If your child prefers to learn online, there are lots of interactive homework games to explore on the following websites:

 

Times Tables VR (by Exam Papers Plus)

Screenshot of Times Tables VR Game

 

We thought we’d kick off our online homework games section off by including one of our very own virtual reality games, Times Tables VR. Understanding times tables is essential for Maths exams and we hope the game will make the learning process enjoyable.

 

The game helps children learn their times tables in an immersive Virtual Reality world that they can navigate through using just their eyes. The app is designed to work with the Google Cardboard VR headset and is completely free with no adverts. You can download the app for free for iPhones from the App Store here and for Android from the Play Store here.

 

Primary Homework Help

Screenshot of the Primary Homework Help website

 

Created by Computer Teacher Mandy Barrow, Primary Homework Help has lots of homework games to keep your children entertained. Their English and Maths homework games are particularly good. Mandy is also the creator and manager of the Woodlands Junior School website.

 

Top Marks

Screenshot of the Top Marks website

 

Top Marks has been online since 1998 and is one of the most popular UK homework websites on the internet. The site helps teachers and parents save time finding the best, inspirational educational web resources. They also create their own homework games and have a great section for English, Maths and Science.

 

How do you get your kids to do their homework? Have you used any of the games above? Do you have any of your own homework games that you play with your child?

 

Related post:

How to Help Your Child Revise for Exams

Revision Games for Primary School Kids

 

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