StudySkills Articles

How to Make Homework More Interesting

I was recently asked a million-dollar question, “How can I make homework more interesting for my child?”

The premise of this question is a bit faulty. It is like asking, “How do I make ‘paying bills’ more interesting?” You can play loud music and eat a lot of ice cream while paying bills, but at the end of the day, you are still dishing out your money to others. No matter how you “dress it up,” paying bills is a chore.

So is homework!

The better question to ask is, “How can homework be done faster, more efficiently?” In that case, I have a clear answer…

Learn how to learn!

The vast majority of schools around the country are not teaching students how to learn. They are bogged down with national and state-mandated curriculum that focus on CONTENT, not on learning or processing skills.

Instead of teaching study skills, it is assumed that somehow, students will automatically know how to learn and get themselves organized.

In reality, these are skills that can be taught and should be taught, but are virtually ignored. Meanwhile, many students get lost in school and fall through the cracks simply because they have never learned strategies for learning or getting themselves organized.

When a child learns that there are quick tricks for reading a textbook with ease or that a simple binder system can help them keep their papers organized, they are relieved! In fact, they are excited to learn that they are not “stupid.” They were simply not applying strategy to their school work.

Students use strategies everyday…to play sports, video games, and even to manipulate their parents!

However, when it comes to homework, they usually have nothing. They do not realize that there are shortcuts. The brain is an amazing tool that can learn new information and complete homework at a very efficient rate IF they know how to capitalize on the way the brain works.

There are also shortcuts for organizing papers and supplies. Did you know that the standard, most common systems teachers use actually CAUSE most of students’ organizational challenges?

Most teachers require students to keep a separate folder and notebook for each class. This creates a giant bottleneck of 10-16 different folders and notebooks that students must maintain on a daily basis.

They all look alike, yet they all have to be transported to school, in and out of the locker, to the correct classes, and then home again for homework. This is the equivalent of adults having 10-16 different email inboxes to maintain each day. We would go crazy! It is no wonder that our students are, too!

A simple system of combining all folders and notebooks into one binder can save sanity…and has literally transformed grades overnight!

Conclusion

Now that I think about it, homework can be more interesting…when tackled strategically. Teaching efficient, student-friendly study skills to your children or students will make a tremendous difference in their attitude towards homework and school. Armed with strategies, you will see their confidence –and their motivation- SOAR®!

-Susan Kruger

 


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