It’s 6:30 pm. You’ve worked all day and cooked dinner for your family. Now, it’s time to relax, right?
Nope. Your child has a math worksheet for homework which is due tomorrow. Let the battle begin!
Sound familiar? Math homework seems to cause the most angst and dread for families. Students come up with many reasons why they should delay homework or even avoid it altogether. Homework can escalate the stress level at home, leading to arguments as parents have to step in and ‘be the teacher’.
What to do? How can you make math homework more bearable?
The key is to make the work itself more fun.
Four tips to try:
1) Turn math worksheets into goals. You can offer a treat or set goals leading to ‘privilege points’. You know what will appeal most to your child. Choose something that will make them work for the end result!
2) Turn the assignment itself into a game. Pop out the Uno cards or the Connect 4 game. When they get problems completed, they can take a turn in the game. Wrong answer = lose a turn. Siblings can play against each other while completing different assignments.
3) Work alongside your child. You can work on emails, your job responsibilities, check social media or pay bills. This is a great way to model for your child that extra work is necessary and important for success. They won’t feel like they are the only one in the house who is working and homework may seem less of a chore for them.
4) Build in ‘Brain Breaks’. For a set number of problems completed or for every 20 minutes of (actual!) work done, let your child take a Brain Break. A Brain Break could be a text to a friend, watching one YouTube video, shooting some soccer goals, taking a quick bike ride down the street —— whatever motivates and appeals to your child. Having breaks planned can give them something to look forward to during homework time. This concept is backed by neuroscience research that proves a short break can help maintain focus, encourage working harder and learning better. Even a couple of minutes can do wonders to reset the brain and get your child back on track.
Give it a try! Rethinking the math homework process may prove to be the ticket to success!