Here's How to Make Homework Meaningful
Our 2020 Amazing Educators have proven themselves amazing once again. Terri Swedenburg of Little Rock Christian, Doah Strojek of Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Jason Crader of Carver Magnet Elementary and Nicolas Williams of Mann Magnet Middle shared their best tips for making homework time a meaningful time for every student.
First Things First
Williams offers a checklist to set the stage for after-school studying success.
• Make a homework schedule and be consistent — the earlier the better!
• Create a homework-friendly area for your child.
• Share a good attitude. Stay positive and be reassuring.
• Provide healthy snacks. Good food equals great focus and relaxation.
• Give your kids space to do their homework. You can help and support, but do not do the work!
Homework Tips for Every Student
As a kindergarten mom, I’m still able to brand homework as an “afternoon adventure.” Despite starting with that sense of whimsy, my son still runs into study sticking points. He happens to be a perfectionist, and even the suggestion of writing a little neater can set him off. I’m sure he’s not the only student whose temperament comes into play when he hits a tough task. That’s why our tips are organized by personality.
How to use this guide: Find your student’s style to discover a new homework mantra and Amazing Educator pro tip!
Making a mistake cues waterworks, crumpled papers and resistance to trying one more time.
Your new catchphrase: “Mistakes are part of learning!”
Pro tip: Crader suggests helping your kid understand the reason behind mistakes. “The more specific you can be the better. This specificity will help the student understand the ‘why’ behind the mistake, and hopefully he’ll begin to understand mistakes are helpful in the learning process.”
The Active Learner
The last thing this student wants to do is sit still for more work!
Your new catchphrase: “Let’s take a break!”
Pro tip: After a movement break, find tools for your homework space to help keep your kid focused. Strojek recommends fidget spinners, stress balls or tying an exercise band to the legs of a chair. You can even create a space for your student to stand as they work on assignments.
The Resistant Worker
Beneath protests, this student is intimidated by the subject material.
Your new catchphrase: “Let’s break it down.”
Pro tip: When a student is struggling with material, they need the material presented in a different way. “Break the material down into more manageable and understandable parts for that child,” Strojek says.
This student wants to put off homework until the last possible moment.
Your new catchphrase: “How was your day?”
Pro tip: Williams suggests engaging with kids who tend toward procrastination before diving in. “Talk about sporting events, family life and social and emotional problems first.”
"Why homework?” is a common refrain in your house. Your student can smell busy work from a mile away.
Your new catchphrase: “How does this relate to what’s going on in class?”
Pro tip: Swedenburg suggests reminding “why” students to dig deep. “Look for a chance to compare, contrast, develop and create” for a more meaningful experience.