Give choices in subject matter, time, or place of study. For example: Would the child like to do math or English first? When is their best, most alert time of day? Would they like to study in their rooms or on the couch?
For example: Use a math music audiotape, math videos, or chocolate chips for math concepts. Great games for math and language arts are Scrabble, Battleship, card games, Monopoly, fraction pizza and many others.
• Follow interests as much as possible, if not in format, then in content. For example: Child has to write an essay so he could write about his passion of the moment if desired.
• Use rewards if they work for your child. For example: Stickers, passes for fun outings. Have a jar of 200 dimes (one for each school day). Any day the child whines about doing homework, take out one dime. Child can keep any money left at the end of the year.
• Avoid power struggles. Put your relationship building first. Try and approach learning another way. Listen to why your child doesn’t want to do the work and brainstorm ideas together on how to get the work done.
• For those hesitant writers, try being the scribe while the child dictates ideas. Or try letting them write on computer which is easier on little hands. Or let the child dictate into a tape recorder and then copy down what he has spoken.
• For those hesitant readers, try picking up an enticing children’s book and reading out loud. Your child might come join you if it’s not forced.
• Model reading yourself. Cuddle on the couch with a child and make reading a fun, cozy, exciting time. Use vocal variety and stop when the child is no longer interested.
• Keep a routine going when you figure out the best time of day for homework. After school, after supper or before bed. This has to work for you and your child. Some parents like to get homework out of the way and done by supper, but perhaps the child needs a break from academics and needs to let off steam in the back yard first. Be kind but firm in sticking to a routine that works.
• Have a written contract each week, month or year that is signed and agreed to by the parent and child, about what work must be completed for that time period.
• Never punish for not doing the work. You want to create a climate for lifelong learning and enjoyment of the pursuit of knowledge. Remember, your job is to facilitate homework and learning. You can’t force it.
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