10 Helpful Ways to Make Homework Fun and Engaging
Homework… The word alone is enough to bring on a huge yawn. Your children come home after spending a long day at school and now you want them to sit down quietly and do their homework. What kind of torture is that?
After hours and hours of staring at the board, surrounded by books and quizzes, and listening to lectures, there is a possibility that kids will throw a small tantrum when you ask them to complete their assignments. Well, let’s fight off the scowls and tears, and turn the nightmarish homework time into a productive and fun-filled sessions. Here are a few tips that will make even math equations bearable!
1. A Funky Timer
Monday blues are real, and after an adventurous weekend, it can be hard to settle back to your old routine. That’s why it is important to have a fixed schedule. Even on weekends, don’t go completely lax and try to set some time apart for school work. When your child comes home from school, allow them to play and rest after lunch. Once they are well-rested, it is time to begin the work. Most kids find it difficult to start their homework.
One way to avoid the troubled beginnings is to use a timer. A colorful and funky timer can do the trick. Place it on their desk, set the time and go! Children love having their own little things and a cutesy timer may motivate them to apply themselves and plug away. Most of the time, one uninterrupted hour is more than enough to finish the daily tasks. Reset if needed.Here are a few tips that will make even math equations bearable! Click To Tweet
2. Work Together
“How come you are watching television while here I am… slaving away? That so not fair, mom! (or dad!).” Yes, parents, your school days are long gone, and you are not obliged to spend hours hovering over a pile of books. But hey, such is life! Your child needs your attention and support. They definitely don’t want to feel left out of the fun. You must have some of your own little tasks to sort out. Take this quiet time to wrap up those. Sit next to your child and while they are working on their assignments, you can work on your chores. It can be an office presentation, monthly budgeting or even a novel you really want to finish… Err… this year. At the same time, you can attend to your little ones when they need your help with the homework.Let's fight off the scowls and tears, and turn the nightmarish homework time into a productive and fun-filled sessions. Click To Tweet
3. Beneficial and Productive Rewards
Honestly speaking, I am not in a favor of offering rewards in return for completing homework, but they can be useful sometimes. I hated math as a kid. It was so painful for me to solve all the word problems and fractions. To get me down to work, my mom would tell me I could play Scrabble with her once I finish my mathematics homework. It worked! I loved Scrabble and loved playing it with my mom even more. My baby brother didn’t make a good competitor for obvious reasons.
When a child absolutely loathes a task and there is no way around it, you can bribe them with a board game, time for some crafty activity, a quick run or play outside, an educational field trip or something equally beneficial.
Don’t promise them video games, extra television hours, screen time or even sugary treats as it can adversely affect their concentration.
4. A Platter of Scrumptious Snacks
Come on, you know how it goes! When you are having a hard day at work, and suddenly a colleague appears with a large box of freshly baked brownies, things start to look up. You gobble down a couple of them, and the day doesn’t feel so bad all of a sudden. Similarly, you can brighten up things for you child with yummy treats in between the tasks. Keep it in balance though and offer them healthy and creative snacks such as cupcakes, homemade cookies, smoothies, fruit salads, pretzels, and chips with delicious dips.
If your child usually does their homework in evening, it is likely they will feel slightly hungry. Having healthy snacks can give them a much-needed boost of energy and may even help them look forward to homework sessions. Be sure to give them snacks in a limited amount. You don’t want them to skip their dinner because they are feeling too full!Brighten up things for you child with yummy treats in between homework tasks. Click To Tweet
5. Let the Creative Juices Flow
Don’t know how to make your child understand the laws of Newton? Get creative! For instance, drawing and labelling can solve many issues. During Botany lectures, I couldn’t understand a thing about different parts of plants. But when I saw the drawings, it was far easier to comprehend apical and axillary buds. For many children, sitting still like a statue and pouring over the books just won’t cut it. They need to reinvent and improvise. Together you can act out a part from the play they are currently studying in class, or they can create a presentation to understand the complicated rules of Organic Chemistry.
For preschoolers, finger-painting the letters and numbers, singing out the poems, and educational toys can help them engage their senses and grasp the concepts. For fidgety children who can’t stay still, exercise balls, fidget toys and bands can help them focus.
6. Their Own Little Nook
Homework can be extremely fun when a child has their own productive space dedicated to their books and their studies. You can set up a study table or a small desk and place a compact bookshelf alongside it. Add some unique pencil holders, a study lamp, and a globe. Make sure the chair is comfortable but not too much or it might put them to sleep. Help them arrange their books neatly on the book rack. Don’t place any gadgets and screens nearby to avoid unnecessary distractions.
Having a special spot for homework can help encourage a child to be productive and creative. Encourage them to use the space for quiet time and reading on a rainy day too. Teach them how to keep their own space neat and tidy and somewhere they can be proud of.Homework can be extremely fun when a child has their own productive space dedicated to books and studies. Click To Tweet
7. A Dose of Colors
Colors instantly brighten up a dull day! In their study corner, hang a colorful board on the wall and put up their weekly timetables along with motivational quotes and pictures of their favorite characters. Visuals, especially when they are delightfully appealing, can give your child motivation to work.
Use a colourful planner where they can list all the things they have to do, they will know what tasks they have to finish and how much is left. Once they are done, they will enjoy crossing completed tasks off the list.
Similarly, colorful stationery and crisp notebooks can do wonders. Take a trip to a stationery shop, or have a look online and allow them to choose some cool-looking school kits especially for use at home.
8. Short Breaks are Essential
Kids are energetic little munchkins and expecting them to sit still for hours is highly unreasonable. When homework sessions are longer than usual, or exams are near, let them study efficiently by allowing them short breaks in between. They can use this time to wander around the house to stretch their muscles and have some snacks and drink, perhaps even read a couple of pages from a favourite story book. Don’t let them use smartphones or devices during these breaks or they might feel demotivated to return to books.
An ideal break would be about 5 minutes long after every 20 minutes or so. Research has shown that 20 minutes is really the optimum amount of time that the brain can function at it’s peak. Anything more than that, and things typically start to become stagnant – think staring at same page and reading the same thing over and over again.
Of course, if something is particularly engrossing for your child, whether it’s a new art piece or they’ve finally cracked those Algebra problems, don’t stop them mid-way.
9. Come Back to it Later
There are times when it feels as if you are talking to a wall. You’ve tried to explain a concept hundreds of times, in a million different ways – You talked them through it, you’ve given brilliant examples, and you’ve even drawn a superb illustration to simplify the concept. Yet sadly, they just aren’t able to grasp it.
When times like that occur, and they undoubtedly will (and you wonder exactly what is going on in school), remind yourself to take a step back and come back to it later.For some reason, my brother took a long time to spell ‘exercise’ correctly. It was frustrating for my mom but she eventually managed to help him memorise with a silly song.
Some concepts, like ‘telling the time’ or ‘fractions’ even learning the alphabet and reading are things that require a certain maturity of thought and some kids will learn certain things faster while others will just take a while to piece certain things together.
Some days are just hard on both parents and kids. Don’t push too hard, especially if they are already trying their best but just aren’t able to perceive it. Often it helps to come back to it, after a break, with a fresh mind.
10. Step Back – Help Them See the Bigger Picture
Sometimes your kids are happily doing their homework when they stumble upon something that requires some revision. For instance, in math, to understand new knowledge and concepts, all the prior principles must be clear. It is like a puzzle. To appreciate it, all the pieces must be in place. Moreover, children need to learn mathematics with understanding. It is not something that they can just memorise.
Haven’t we all wondered, ‘When will I ever need to use Algebra in my life?’ or ‘Why should I need to know how to calculate molar ratios?’ To make it fun and engaging, help them incorporate their learning in to everyday life. This helps your kids see how their learning can be useful in everyday life such as, angles in cutting up a pizza, how to calculate percentage discounts during a sale, monthly budgeting and totalling up grocery bills.
While academic learning may not always seem relevant to life, sometimes, it is useful to be able to call upon knowledge and principles that we already know.Kids are energetic little munchkins and expecting them to sit still for hours is highly unreasonable. Read this for tips to make homework fun: Click To Tweet
Gear up, parents! You know you can do it. Just keep your cool and don’t lose patience. Your child’s school going days may seem never-ending now and homework sessions are painful, but they will be gone in a blink of an eye. Before you know it, they will be off to college waving you goodbye.