A child who comes home and goes to his office to happily finish his schoolwork for the day, we all dream of it! In fact, in many families homework is not always fun. It can even be a source of tension and conflict. If the idea that homework is no longer done at home comes up regularly in political programs, the question is not settled. Many teachers continue to fill the agenda. Let’s take this for a chance to see where our child is in his achievements and to help him in his learning when he gets stuck on notions. Here are 10 tips for a serene and effective homework.
Do his homework / Tip 1: decide on a routine with him.
As with any activity, establishing a routine helps a lot to get started with less effort. When you take the reflex to take a shower every morning, you don’t ask yourself any more questions, it becomes automatic. Ditto with sport, when it comes into our routine, everything is won! So making homework part of the evening routine is a basic and very useful key!
On involving our child to define with him the order of this routine (which will always be the same), this will help enormously to get them to adhere to it and respect.
When does he start doing homework? A snack and we go straight? Or do we do a relaxing activity first? Generally, the relaxation activity is useful to relieve the stress of the day and then be more available. However for some children, it will be too hard to get back to it afterwards, they prefer to do it first to get rid of it.
In what environment is he most comfortable doing his homework? The environment which seems to us the most judicious, is not always the one which corresponds to it best. Is he more comfortable in silence or with background music or sound? Is it more effective on its own or in the life of the house? Generally a tidy desk helps also to have a clear mind to concentrate.
Help him with his homework / Tip n ° 2: drink a large glass of water
It’s silly, but it has positive consequences on children’s learning. It increases concentration, intellectual capacities, memory, attention and decreases stress according to some studies. For once, it’s simple, it would be a shame to do without. 🙂
Help them with their homework / Tip 3: starting by moving can help!
The famous Brain Gym, do you know? This is’a series of movements and motor activities that develop potentials and release learning. We now know that the body and the mind are linked, playing sport helps you feel better in your head, reduce stress and a whole host of benefits. And for our on-the-go kids, a few brain-stimulating but not over-exciting exercises can help get them in good shape before they start doing homework. Moreover, several schools have started to adopt this routine of moving before working!
Help him with his homework / Tip n ° 4: autonomy can be learned!
Ideally, the child should do his homework on his own, and we check afterwards. Our goal is not to help him with his homework, but to support him so that he does it more and more independently.. Normally the lessons given in the evening have already been seen in class. However, it is not always so simple, if our child encounters difficulties, it will be necessary to be more at his side so that he does not get discouraged and to guide him so that he can find the answers himself. Also, some children have a harder time concentrating and need to have someone next to them. This is the case of Noah, my 8-year-old son, if I start doing something else, it doesn’t take much for him to pick up and turn away too. Little by little, once he gets more to stay focused, we try to encourage him towards more autonomy.
Over time, we will have to give it more and more autonomy, and find the right distance : be available without being intrusive.
Homework / Tip # 5: learn while moving
Okay, okay, he wants to recite his poetry with a handstand. It’s not very conventional, but after all why not? For years, the school has established that in order to learn you have to be “sitting upright at the table without moving”, however this is far from the case for all children! Some children need to move or touch something to be able to concentrate.
To memorize a lesson, why not play ball? Especially for children who have a memory kinesthésique, using the body is often very effective, it allows to anchor oneself physically and to free the mind which can thus deal with the problem. Some children learn better by doing, better to know 😉
Help them with their homework / Tip 6: learning through images or associations of ideas
Many children have visual memory, or through associations of ideas (even far-fetched)! Remember the coordinating conjunctions: “But where is Ornicar?”
Neuroscience today teaches us how to better use our memory. The world champions in matter use mental maps, associations of ideas, images… To help the children, we delved into the book “Hugo and the secrets of memory”. It is a super beautiful work that gives different methods to help memorize. Learning can be learned! (its author Anne-Marie Gaignard will be at a conference this month in the Cool Parents app for subscribers)
So, at home, we tried:
Learning multiplication tables through the use of mental images. Noé is in CE1, and it’s time for the tables! While SuperPapa and I are discreetly counting on our fingers, we ask him to answer us from the tac-au-tac to 6 x 7… We have just found a method which associates scenes with each multiplication. The child memorizes the story and the associated image and finds the result more easily.
For reading, some teachers use “the planet of the alphas”. Each sound is associated with a funny little character, all evolving into a very nice story. Thus, we will be able to meet Monsieur O who is doing Ohhh in admiring the bubbles he makes, Madame I right as a fry and all their friends. The method is composed of images, videos, figurines and it allows to touch different types of intelligence in children. In addition, they become attached to the characters and learn while having fun.
In conjugation, to remember that the “TU” always ends with an “S” (you sing…), we can use the image (borrowed from Lutin Bazar) of “Monsieur Tu walks his S on a leash”.
Or “I and you don’t like tea” (at mamaitressedecm1.fr). Or finally, as a friend often says, “The Si don’t like the Ré”, to correct the mistake “if I will go”.
Let’s be creative, it doesn’t always make sense, but it does work.
Do your homework / Tip n ° 7: sequence working hours
For our college students for whom the list of homework is often long, no need to imagine making them work for an hour in a row (even if of course there are always children for whom it is appropriate). And with our little ones it’s worse, the attention time of a child in CP is generally less than 20 minutes. Teachers know this well and this is how learning is organized during the day: short working hours interspersed with active mini-breaks. Leave it or offer a small break between each subject or between each exercise.
Help him do homework / tip 8: lower the pressure
To learn to walk, he was not told that he had to put the left knee before the right. And suddenly, he must understand the additions before the subtractions! Each child is unique and has their own rhythm. The school system does not offer much flexibility, but let’s try to respect that and arouse the envy rather than “force-feeding”. He will eventually know how to read!
Let’s remember to stay positive and highlight all the progress he is making: this is the best way to motivate him. We can point out his evolutions: what he did not know how to do at the beginning of the year and which he is now succeeding without thinking about it. This will strengthen him in the idea that he can learn. “It is the path that is interesting, not the destination” say the yogi masters.
… for the parents !
As a parent, sometimes we put too much pressure (unconsciously of course) and we pass it on to him. “If my child doesn’t understand, it’s because I’m a bad mother (or father)”. “If my child fails he will miss his life”. But let’s be reassured: it is not because he does not know his table of 3 that he will end up under a bridge, alone and abandoned by all 🙂! Sometimes, we relive what we went through when we did our homework with our parents, we are afraid for him, we feel guilty … None of this is true, of course, but knowing is not always enough to succeed to override. A little help from an outside person (coaching or brief therapy) allows you to disconnect your unconscious fears. And then you might as well start right away, because homework takes a long time.
Help him do Homework / Tip # 9: If something is blocking, pass the baton
Homework does not deserve to be scuttled our relationship with our child. Even if our fears tell us something else, it is not because our child is good in class or does his homework well that he will “be successful in his life”. Above all, I remind you, the school only makes the students use 2 intelligences, out of the 9 intelligences on which we then find in the professional world. And if for you “succeeding in life” means having a job that we like, ask yourself this question: ” Among my friends, are those who today have a job that makes them love them, those who yesterday were first in class? And the bonus question “Are the first of yesterday’s classes the happiest adults today?” I’ll let you answer 😉
So if you feel that it is going to clash, give up for this time (this is also what many mistresses / Masters will recommend). And if this continues, talk to the teacher, or pass it on to someone else (spouse, brother, sister, grandmother, babysitter), or just leave it to study.
Homework / Tip 10: learning is so much more than homework
Bake a cake, want to read the recipe, weigh the ingredients, mix … Tinkering, learning to hammer in a nail, using a spirit level … Knowing how to console a friend, have your head in the stars, move, jump, to create… Everything is fascinating. And our child has so many strengths that go far beyond just “knowing how to do homework”. So beyond homework, let’s think about valuing all the other strengths they have!
Caro, mother of Noé, 8 years old and Isïa, 5 years old and stepmother of Sid, 14 years old and Célia, 21 years old