When we talk about back to school, it's almost impossible to miss this hot topic! If homework time is difficult or contentious at home, here are a few ideas to try to make it a little more enjoyable. Please note that these are suggestions, not magic formulas. Depending on the reality of each, some ideas proposed here may be more difficult to put in place in your homes. Do not give up! There are surely little things that will speak to you and that will stick more to your family!
Long before you get down to work and tackle homework, it's important to establish a positive and supportive work environment. Take the time to chat with your child and invite him to tell about his day and what he learned at school. He will thus be able to perceive your interest in his daily life and his learning. Encourage and value the efforts of your mini. Praise him when he accomplishes a task alone or when he perseveres in a more difficult task.
Tips and tricks to make homework time more enjoyable
First, a little snack before you start is always welcome! You can't concentrate with a craving! It is also better to eat a little something before setting to work rather than having to stop along the way!
A little pee break after the snack and we're ready to start! Let's go!
Your child's daily life is punctuated by routines: the morning routine, the school routines (for rank, for travel, for free time, etc.), the sleep routine… They make your daily life child more predictable and allow him to develop his autonomy. Why not have a routine for homework and lesson time? For more anxious children, the routine will make them safer and reduce their anxiety while making them more available for the task. I really like to suggest to parents that they make a list of homework and lessons to do for each evening so that the child can come and check when he has finished a task. It allows the child to see the magnitude of the task and to have a feeling of control when they check.
If homework time is a daily conflict, it is a good idea to take the time to discuss it with your child in order to understand the "real" reasons for his frustration. Get him to verbalize his discomfort or anxiety. Does he feel pressure? Does he find the task too difficult? Is he afraid of disappointing you or his teacher? Once you know what’s bothering you, it’s easier to adjust your intervention.
If the task seems too long or difficult, you can peel it to make it more accessible to your child. You can also give him breaks between tasks so that he is not overweight. You can also allow him small rewards when he works well. The important thing is to adapt the homework time to you and your child.
Strategies for a more attractive study
Take the example of vocabulary words. This is a more or less long list depending on the educational level of your child. The words chosen can be linked to a specific theme (Halloween, family, farm animals) or even be selected by particularities (words with a particular sound, an "m" preceding a "b"). Your child should memorize them for recitation or dictation of the week. Your mission: Do everything you can to keep your child spelling all of these words!
First, take the time to read the words with him. Usually the teacher took the time to see them with the students in class. You can read them once, then ask your child to read them to you. By reading them, he quietly memorizes the spelling of words.
Now is the fun part! By handling materials, your child will better memorize the different letters that make up the word. You can ask him to write the words with Scrabble letters, magnetic letters, pearls with necklaces (those with letters on them). It can also be plastic glasses, Pop Cycle sticks on which you will have previously written the letters of the words under study. You can make him form the words with plasticine or have him trace in flour (or sugar / sand). The idea is that the child is in action and active.
It is often said that it is by experimenting that we remember things best. With different equipment, the child exercises while having fun. You could also make a sort of bingo grid with the words of the week. You get one at a time and he has to find them in the grid. He could also spell words by throwing a ball at you or by jumping with both feet together. With a little creativity, the possibilities are endless!
Finally, it is important to make him write the words. At school, he will not have magnetic letters or pearl necklaces. Writing words doesn't have to be boring. You have a blackboard or erasable at home, why not use it for writing words? Otherwise, you can let your child write the words in a window (with dry erase pencils or specially designed for windows!). The idea is to vary the material to make it different from the classic paper / pencil.
Several ideas presented previously may also be applicable for the study of different concepts (mathematics tables, conjugation of verbs, memorization of verbs in English, etc.). The important thing is to put the child in action so that he sees the task as a game. We learn so much better by having fun!
The physical location where the child will do his homework is very variable. Some children work well on the kitchen table, sitting in the living room or sitting in their bedroom. It depends on everyone and the task at hand. It can be interesting to test the different places with your child to determine his preferences. The important thing is that the factors are as favorable as possible (lighting, noise) and to reduce distractions.
It is also important that the child has all the materials necessary for homework available. We don't always think about it, but sometimes the child leaves his pencil chest at school, plan to have the basic elements at home:
- Lead pencils
- Coloring pencils (wood, markers)
- Binder sheets
For older children, it may also be interesting to have a calculator and a set of geometry (square, compass, protractor) for mathematics as well as a dictionary and a Bescherelle for French.
For further !
I recently came across a little pearl at the bookstore! "How to survive homework" by Josiane Caron Santha (occupational therapist) is full of additional ideas that really complement those presented in this article. There is a nice section reserved for children with special needs (which I did not really talk about in this text) with strategies adapted to their reality. A great resource!
To conclude, stay positive and try to have fun! Be creative! This is how you will develop a taste for learning in your child!