Six more principles of homework are a succession to my Three Principles of Homework article. This article has been a huge success. Especially parents of elementary-school aged children found these three homework tips quite useful. They appreciated the concise and powerful advise. To summarize this article, here are these three principles again:
1. You cannot force your child, he must want to do it.
2. Your child probably does not like to do homework.
3. Your child’s brain must engage.
These three principles lay out a part of the theoretical foundation of doing homework. In this article we discuss six practical and workable principles which complement the first three.
Principle 4: Establish a Work Routine.
Work on homework at the same time every day. Whether it is right after your child returns home from school or after she had a break playing or texting with her friends. The important point is consistency of your routine.
Most certainly let your child have a say on when this study time takes places. He or she can choose to study before or after dinner, or even to wake up early in the morning. Let her also know once the time is set we will stick to that schedule. Children thrive on structure even if they protest at first. It takes about 30 days for the routine to become a habit. Be persistent. When you study with your child on a regular basis you demonstrate the value of education to her.
Remind your child about five minutes before the study time is approaching that it is time to start. Bring your child’s current activity to an end. Clear the study table and prepare the books, supplies. Now it is time to begin.
Principle 5: Offer Support for Hard Problems
While it is crucial for your child to be doing the home work himself, there will come a time when he is stuck on a problem.
If she says “mommy, I can’t do this”. you respond “act as if you can”. Let your child visualize solving the homework task. Then she will give it another try and hopefully succeed the second time. If she still can’t cope with the problem, offer help by asking rather than on telling. These are examples of questions to ask:
What parts do you understand?
Can you give me an example?
How can you find out?
On the other hand, if you child is on her way to succeeding with the task leave the immediate area. If she completes the homework item she just scored a huge success: a growth experience, success while facing adversities.
Principle 6: Love and Praise are Worth More than Money
Often, parents reward her students with ice cream, a new toy or money. While kids certainly do respond to incentives, this type of reward is more like bribery, thus has only short term gains. Yet, your child does not develop the joy of learning from material incentives.
A better reward system is your attention, love and praise. Make verbal comments that focus on describing a specific thing done well. For example:
You followed the directions exactly and finished in 10 minutes.
I notice you stayed up late last night working on your term paper. I know it wasn’t easy, but your efforts got it done.
All your letters are right between the lines. I’ll bet your teacher will like your writing.
Principle 7: Establish a Positive Environment
Noise from the street, neighbors or somebody talking on the phone are a real distraction from the study. Make sure the TV is off, the windows are closed (unless no noise comes from the outside).
Put otherwise important tools outside of reach or even better out of sight from your student. Or else he will be reminded how nice playing games would be right now or whether he already got a text message from his best friend.
Have all text books, supplies or tools ready on the table. If you have to look for it while solving a problem it can break your child’s concentration.
Make the environment beautiful such as having plants or flowers near by the desk. Or put your favorite mantra symbol on the counter, perhaps a statue of Buddha or your son’s favorite comic book character.
Principle 8: Be a Role Model
While your student is working on the home work get some of your own responsibilities handled. Do the dishes, fold laundry, or write thank you notes.
Perhaps you have started to learn Spanish or to began to learn another computer application? This is the time for you to study also. Just make sure you’re not working on the hardest computer app. Tackle an easy task so that you can interrupt yourself to check about the progress of your student.
By doing so you create an atmosphere of industry and shared dedication to one’s own work.
Principle 9: Hire a Tutor
Another important consideration is the whether you should hire a tutor or not. Good reasons are:
The concept of the homework exceeds your knowledge level
You and your child had a big fight.
Tutors are trained in the art of homework.
Your tutor typically arrives in regular intervals. This makes principle 4 easier.
You can choose your own tutor from the list of reliable and pier-reviewed tutors: http://www.tutorz.com/find-me-a-tutor.