Homework. The eight letter word that makes many students cringe. "I hate homework." "Why do we have homework?" "Why do we have SO MUCH homework?" "What is the purpose of homework?" "They just give us a lot of homework because they don't like us." Anyone who is/has been a teacher has heard these phrases more times than they care to remember.
Homework has existed in the past and will continue to exist in the future. So, with students constantly complaining and questioning the need for homework a question that arises is how can students be motivated to do their homework? Some students are very good at knowing what work needs to be done, about how long it will take to complete it and when it is due. On the other hand, some students know they have work to be completed and when it is due but struggle with procrastinating or not doing the work because they don't feel it is a necessary component of their educational experience. For parents who are deciding on a plan to motivate their child/children to complete homework assignments, here are four key areas you will want to consider:
1.Designate time for doing homework assignments - Many kids in this generation have very busy schedules (some have too many activities they are involved in). No matter what the schedule entails, there must be an established time frame for doing homework. Whenever the child gets home, there should be roughly 15 minutes of time devoted to getting a snack and decompressing. After 15 minutes has elapsed, homework should begin. My motto is "Homework Before Anything".
2. Offer meaningful incentives - Incentives are everywhere. The department store offers incentives for sales associates. Professional athletes have incentive clauses incorporated into their contracts. Most often these incentives are monetary, but parents should definitely avoid using money as an incentive to motivate their child. It can become costly and is not an effective means to motivate children. One example of a good incentive is to establish a system in which your child can "buy" (not with money) extra time doing something they enjoy, in exchange for doing extra work or "going the extra mile". For example, your child has homework involving looking up and writing definitions for ten vocabulary words. In exchange for extra time doing something they really enjoy (Minecraft, reading, Legos, Lego Mindstorm), they could look up and write ten definitions for ten additional words they have come across in various reading assignments for school. The idea is to be creative and use incentives that will serve as positive reinforcement and effectively instill intrinsic motivation.
3. Communicate - Parents can easily stay involved in their child's education. Having a brief conversation a few times a week regarding assignments and projects (short term/long term) has a lot of influence. In addition, contacting the teacher periodically to get an update regarding academics (as well as behavior) or setting up regularly scheduled "check-ins" with the teacher via telephone or e-mail. As a result, your child will quickly become aware that you care about their success, have high (and realistic) expectations, and you expect them to meet those expectations (no excuses). Parents can also have a talk with their child about the consequences of not completing homework. For example,
4. Help make it fun - If your child complains about homework being boring, mix up the routine to make it more appealing.
What strategies have you implemented that have proven successful?