CREATE A POSITIVE HOMEWORK ENVIRONMENT
Those two words can bring up great anxiety in parents and students alike. However, research does show that a positive attitude by parents towards the homework experience has a huge impact on student success.
Here are some ways that parents can better engage students to make homework sessions more successful:
- Homework environment
It comes as no surprise that the environment in which homework is done has a significant impact on the quality of the homework produced. Some fundamental recommendations to optimize the homework space include finding a quiet space for the student to work and removing distractions. The space should also be clear of any unrelated materials so that students have as much space as they need for their books, pen and pencils, calculator, computer, and other learning tools. In addition, the seating area should be comfortable; working on lower surfaces like coffee tables is not recommended.
- Time management
Managing time is essential to completing tasks well and on time. We can assist students to organize their time by helping them schedule when and for how long they will work on their homework, as well as supporting those plans with the use of a personal agenda to note study sessions, exams and other important due dates. Designated homework time should be consistent, ideally the same time every day of the week, to encourage students to follow a routine and prepare mentally.
Parent should ask plenty of questions about what students do and do not know or understand. Without discussion, we risk assuming where a learning breakdown is happening without knowing for sure if we are on the right path. Discussion also helps students become more engaged with the homework process while helping them focus on the task at hand.
Some other simple but easily over-looked ways to maximize the homework experience are:
- Snacks on the ready
A hungry mind is a mind that is not optimized. Making sure that students have a healthy snack before sitting down to do their homework can be game-changing. Fruits and high-protein snacks such as hummus, peanut butter and yogurt are great choices. These will help students stay alert and have better concentration.
- Helpful time management apps
There are a ton of fun, interactive and useful time management apps that help students make sure that homework time is productive time. Some of the most popular ones include Forest, Donut Dog and Focus Plant. Take some time to explore these and other time management apps with your child to see which would best suit them. If an app does not seem like the best approach, the widely popular Pomodoro® Technique is applicable at any time and can be customized to any student’s needs. This graphic does a great job of explaining the basic principles of the method:
The workspace should be brightly lit; if possible, with natural light. Appropriate lighting not only helps protect against eyestrain, it also helps keep us alert.
Parents cannot do their child’s homework for them. But taking some steps to support and provide a positive homework environment is a concrete way for parents to contribute to a successful and productive homework experience.