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Friday, September 19, 2014

Turning Homework Into Home Fun


Motivating students to complete homework assignments can be tricky. After a long day at school, few learners look forward to tackling academics on their free time.  So what can we do to make the process less taxing, and possibly enjoyable?

Strategies for Turning Homework into Home Fun:
Who came up with the idea to call after-school assignments "homework?" Clearly, they were not thinking about the psychological sabotage embedded in that word.  I mean, really, who wants to take schoolwork home?  Here are a number of strategies that will help you to improve students attitudes and motivation, about home assignments.
  1. Don't call home assignments, homework, but come up with a name that is more appealing and motivating such as home fun. Think like an advertising agency that is trying to sell a product, and be sure to create fun and enticing names for all your assignments and lessons.  For example, I never teach script or cursive. I teach roller-coaster letters! Furthermore, generate excitement about upcoming units by showing your own enthusiasm for the content.
  2. Bring the arts, music, and games into assignments.  Many students enjoy fine arts, acting, music, and making as well as playing games, so try to weave these into the curriculum. Encouraging these creative options can also bring the fun factor into learning and make academics more memorable too.
  3. Offer a number of assignment options.  Each student possesses different strengths, and they also have their own preferred ways of learning.  As a result, provide choices that allow students to share their knowledge while granting them the power to select an appealing approach.
  4. Limit the amount of homework.  Students are often cognitively spent after working all day long in school, and there is a lot of research that suggests that home assignments really are not all that helpful.  In fact, a Canadian family took this issue to the Supreme Court in their country, arguing that there was no evidence that home assignments improved academic performance.  They actually won the ruling and their children were exempt from all homework. 
  5. Offer your students extra credit for completing home assignments.  Many students are motivated to improve their grades.  Besides the ones that are doing poorly, are the ones that probably need the extra practice!
I hope you found this blog helpful.  If you have other ideas, please share them.

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning and Dyslexia Materials.  She is also the director of Learning to Learn, in Ossining, NY.  To learn more about her products and services, you can go to www.goodsensorylearning.comwww.dyslexiamaterials.com & www.learningtolearn.biz  

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