Breaking away from traditional worksheets: Helping your child with their homework
This post comes as a follow on to a conversation I was having with someone recently about how hard it can be to encourage your child to do their homework.
I mentioned that school normally send homework home as an uninspiring worksheet. The child has had a long (often, in their mind uninspiring) day at school and now need to come home and start again with the next uninspiring task.
My thoughts were, why not adapt the worksheet for your child and make it a bit more appealing. It could be something as simple as copying it onto coloured paper, or you may decide to be a bit more adventurous and make it into a game.
A worksheet with a series of questions written on could be cut up and placed around the table.
You then play tiddly winks, with the aim of landing your counter on the question. When you do, you both work out the answer. The person who answers the most correctly is the winner.
(At the end you would probably need to stick them back to a piece of paper so that it is returned to school as a “worksheet”).
Another game I often play is:
I create a “pack of cards”. Some of the cards are blank others have an illustration on that is of interest to your child.
You take it in turns to turn over a card. If you turn over a blank, you are safe. If you turn over a picture card, you have to answer a question. Again, the person who answers the most questions wins.
I’ve mentioned the reading game many times before (if you want reminding just pop a comment below). That can easily be adapted so that instead of reading a page, you answer a question if someone lands on your colour.
Some teachers may frown. Some parents may scoff at this idea. But I believe personally that if your child is resisting doing homework, making it more creative may break down the barriers in getting it done. The time spent arguing on it, could be spent having time together and creating a task that you can both “enjoy”.
Some parents worry about helping their child in case they offer conflicting ideas to what the school is suggesting and confuse their child.
Again, I have mentioned many times previously that the only reason I ever got my head around algebra was because my dad explained it to me in a way that was completely different to what the maths teacher at school was.
She just kept repeating the same things. I didn’t get it the first time, the second time or anytime thereafter. However, dad explaining it to me from a different angle made perfect sense.
I don’t think there is ever any harm in trying. Otherwise, use Youtube to help explain it to your child. There’re some amazing videos on there.
You may think your child is too old to play games. Some children may agree, but I play games, create mind maps, do quizzes with children up to the age of 16 and nearly all of them respond well to a more creative way of looking at something.
Each week I send out an email offering hints and tips on supporting your child with maths and English. If you would like to receive it, please do let me know.
Next year 2019, I am also going to endeavour doing a 365- day maths and English challenge. (That’s not entirely honest as I probably won’t do weekends as I tutor all day on a Saturday and Sunday).
But each day I will create an activity that can be used to support your child with either maths or English.
Example: in the autumn you could create a tree with the leaves made from hand prints. Each print can be used as a symbol to help learn the 5 times table.
Fish made from tissue paper that look like a stained glass window can be used for creative writing.
Can you find something around the house which starts with each of the following letters: J.A.N.U.A.R.Y (effective game for many dyslexics who struggle to hear the sound at the beginning and ends of a word).