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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

After a long day at school, kids are usually just looking to unwind at home. With fatigue, hunger, and multiple distractions, getting homework done is a real challenge. Even with a good homework schedule in place, staying motivated isn’t easy. Here are some tips to keep your child interested and motivated to continue learning at home.

  1. Incorporate your child’s interests – Every parent knows that children need no prodding to do the things they’re interested in. See if you can incorporate those interests into your child’s learning. Take your child’s favorite topics and work them into their reading, math and writing lessons. Is your son eagerly awaiting the release of ‘How to Train Your Dragon 2’? Then he will love learning science with Hiccup in the online game ‘School of Dragons’! Look for fun ways to keep your child interested in learning, even if they aren’t directly related to the homework assignments.
  2. Keep them moving while learning facts – If your child’s assignment doesn’t require her to be seated while working on it, let her move around for a change. Studies have shown that students can focus more and remember better when they’re physically active. When memorizing spellings or facts, encourage your kids to pace, march or do other physical activity to make the learning easier and more fun.
  3. Give your child lots of options – Nobody likes being forced to do things. Having the power of choice always feels good, even to young kids. While choosing whether or not to do the homework isn’t an option, you can still give your child the power of choice. Allow them to choose the order in which they will complete the assignments, and how it will be done. If your child dislikes writing, see if the assignment can be typed out instead. If your child prefers using an online dictionary to a hard copy, let him.
  4. Keep yourself available – Make it clear to your child that you will be available to assist her whenever necessary. If you cannot be free for the entire duration of her homework time, try to fix a 30 or 60 minute period when you will be available to help her out. This way, when she encounters a challenge and needs adult help, she can put her work aside and move on to another assignment until you are free to sit with her. However, make sure that you are not giving her answers during this time. Rather, use it to help her think and find solutions on her own.
  5. Help your child be organized – Help your child keep homework sheets, assignments and stationery organized in a manner that makes sense to him. This will make him feel empowered and in control. It also reduces dependency on adults, in turn helping your child complete homework independently.

With these five tips in mind, you can make homework time a lot easier for you and your child.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want their kids to be aces at homework.

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