The Dreaded Homework Battle: How To End It Once & For All

kids pillow fightMore and more, we are hearing from parents that feel they are damaging their relationship with their child over homework. Let’s examine the homework battle a little more closely.

To start off, homework isn’t something that is taught. It’s a different type of learning and an opportunity for children to apply and expand on the knowledge the teacher thinks they already learned in the classroom. Therefore, when homework battles begin, I invite parents to get curious with their child:

  • Does their child have the confidence to get started on their homework?
  • Once started, do they understand the work and have examples to follow for when they don’t understand?
  • Do they practice reverse homework?

Beyond The Academics…Confidence & Organization

confident teenWith an understanding of The Twist, comes the realization that one has to be organized and have the belief that they can actually learn! These are two key pieces in building confidence and taking a student from just staying afloat in school to becoming a strong swimmer!

Beyond getting curious above, we also need to know:

  • Do they have the tools to do the work?
  • Do they know when it’s due?
  • Do they have the assignment?
  • Do they know how to get started?
  • Do they have the right space to do their homework?
  • Do they understand why they need to do their homework?
  • Do they value homework?

We have developed a HOMEWORK checklist so that you can have this conversation with your child: Get The Homework Checklist Here!

Agenda Usage & Other Key Concepts

Nike says, “Just Do It!” …But we shouldn’t be saying that about homework!

We need to remember that in doing homework, students need to:

  • use an agenda,
  • understand different teachers’ expectations,
  • understand different parents’ expectations,
  • understand what their school work is asking,
  • understand how to do the school work,
  • know what to do when they don’t know how to do the school work,
  • understand what their best environment is to complete the work,
  • know what tools they need to complete the school work,
  • know how to regulate themselves to sit down and do the work,
  • understand time management to get the work completed in a timely fashion
  • understand why the school work is relevant to their life,
  • find a connection between their work and their interests.

That’s a lot of tasks! When we look at homework as a whole sum of everything above, it’s not just as simple as “do your homework”.

Change Your Household Mindset About Homework

happy father and sonKnowing what we know above, we need to change your household’s mindset to this: your child ALWAYS has homework! Homework isn’t just about tasks from the teacher. We have to switch the perspective to look at homework as something that helps your child get into the habit of reviewing what they’ve learned, not just doing assigned homework.

If your child doesn’t have traditional homework that is assigned by their teacher, they can do one of the following:

1. Review:

Reviewing learned information helps kids remember and retain the knowledge in the future. Here are a few ways your child can review their classwork:

a) Your child can take their notes from that day and translate them into their learning style. For example, if they are a visual learner, they can highlight key terms. If they are an auditory learner, they can tell a story in the side margin that will help them remember what the key concepts or learnings are. You can learn more about supporting your child’s learning style here!

b) There is an art to note-taking which is a skill unto itself. This would be great to be further developed. Potentially have your child learn this over the summer?!

2. Reverse Homework:

Students can find out upcoming topics and research the topics in advance (or with their tutor). For example, if your child knows they are going to learn about eyes and vision in science class, they can go on YouTube and watch videos that talk about the eye. This way your child will go into class with some prior knowledge and won’t feel like the teacher is speaking a foreign language. This is the kind of spoiler you want to encourage your child to experience!

Imagine your child walking into class with some knowledge and understanding of the lesson, instead of feeling totally overwhelmed. Their confidence would soar! Next, imagine that they knew that they weren’t expected to understand it immediately, as often is the pressure felt in class. Further imagine that it’s taught to them in a way that fires up their brain, instead of only how the textbook or classroom teacher teaches it.

The number one wish from the kids we tutor and from their parents, is that they feel more confident — with how they learn, with the material, and with asking for help. Reverse homework is the answer!

There are schools that do this reverse homework method and have experienced great success. Schools that have adopted this idea in the States saw their failure rate drop from 35% to 10% and saw their college enrolment up from 63% to 80% in two years!

While the students preview the topic at home, class time is spent on answering the kid’s questions about the material, working through applications of the information, and finding links with the subject material and their passions.

Reverse homework gets kids engaged in their learning and develops a sense of responsibility because the students feel there is value in doing the work. Parents are happy as they see their children’s confidence soar.

If your child’s school is not doing this, you can advocate for your child to have access to their plan for the school year. By getting this plan, you will have the upcoming topics. Once you know your child’s learning style, you will be able to have them do a reverse homework activity on the upcoming topics. You can go to the library or into Google — both resources can help!

This can also be what your child does over the summer to preview for their next school year!

Have you participated in the homework battle? We’d love to hear about it. Tell us your story on Facebook!

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