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If we ask children what their favorite hobby is, we can get many different answers. But what is almost certain is that none of them will tell us that their favorite hobby is doing homework. However, even if it is not one of their favorite school tasks, they have to face them every day. Hence the importance that parents, and also teachers, look for a way to school homework is more fun for kids.
Do children need to do homework? Arriving at a certain age and in the right amount, yes. And it is that school assignments teach different values and lessons to our children:
- Planning. Thanks to homework, children will learn to plan their tasks and to anticipate them so as not to suffer moments of stress at the last minute.
- Organization. Through homework, children acquire the ability to organize their work in the way they consider most effective and intelligent.
- Responsibility. Educating in responsibility is teaching children that they must fulfill what they have been entrusted with or what they have committed to.
- Effort. With homework, our children also get used to striving for what they have to do.
But is the homework that kids do every day fun? If we stop to think about it and as pointed out by the pedagogue Nerea Riveiro, a specialist in early care and psychopedagogical evaluation, not even the word we use to call them is stimulating: 'homework' or 'homework'.
As usual, school homework is often monotonous and little stimulating for the little ones who must do them because:
- They are repetitive and each course is the same
Each course that children exceed the level of difficulty of the homework increases, however, the procedure is always the same, which ends up being very repetitive and boring for children.
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- Sometimes homework is not appropriate for the age and level of the children
When we propose to the little ones tasks that are of a much higher level than theirs, we can even discourage them since they do not meet the demands.
- When kids have too many homework
One of the common complaints of many parents refers to the large amount of homework that schools send to their children. But what is the appropriate amount? This pedagogue explains that there is no exact time and that it changes as the children get older, but she considers that approximately half an hour a day is enough.
Keep in mind that the level of attention that children can sustain is not like that of an adult. After 45 minutes doing the same task, this concentration will inevitably drop. For this reason, more than half an hour of homework could be too demanding for children. In case there are more tasks, it is necessary to take breaks.
We parents can do little to change the tasks that are sent to our children, since they are the ones that it has been agreed that they should do. However, there are some things that are in our hands (in that of parents and teachers) to make school homework more challenging:
1. The most important thing: motivate children
When we are not motivated to do something, we do it reluctantly and trying to finish it as soon as possible to continue with what we do like. Therefore, we must look for ways to motivate children to do their homework at school. Do you think that the repetition exercises that children do every day are motivating?
We cannot forget that, according to neuroscience, motivation is one of the fundamental factors in learning. And furthermore, as detailed in the research article 'Motivate to pass or to learn? Learning motivation strategies for students' by Alejandro Anaya-Durand and Celina Anaya-Huertas of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, this motivation should be aimed at students learning or acquiring knowledge and not at getting better grades.
2. 'Take learning to your ground'
When we manage to relate what children are studying with the subjects they like (dinosaurs, technology, fashion ...), we certainly get their attention and make homework more fun.
3. Make homework time a family time
The tasks that have been sent to them may not be very fun, but if we propose to the children to do them in a fun and, above all, emotional environment, they will be more willing to face them. So it's best to make homework time a family time.
For example, the whole family (siblings of different ages) can sit together at the same table. Meanwhile, parents can take the opportunity to do 'their homework' (check household accounts, check their emails, do work tasks ...). In this way, you will share a moment that will now be more pleasant and your children will take you as an example of how to work (sitting correctly, in silence, concentrating ...).
4. Solve your doubts and go further
It is normal for children to have doubts and questions when they are doing their homework. We can take the opportunity to solve them and even go a little further. What does this mean? Invite our children to do research on the subject to increase their knowledge about the question they are studying and, therefore, that interests them more.
5. Exercises that lead children to experiment
You can study the cycle of plants in books or you can plant a seed and experience the whole process. When children experiment, they learn better and in a more fun way. Let's look for exercises that make learning more experiential.
6. Motivate children to investigate
The usual thing is that we give all the information to the children and that they learn it for them. But what if they are the ones who investigate and then explain to us what they have learned? In this way, we will be stimulating their curiosity but also their reasoning and logic.
A question that parents often have is how we should help our children when they are doing homework, if we are to help them. And there are parents who are at the extreme when faced with this question: there are those who leave their children full autonomy, and those who do exercises from top to bottom to the little ones.
The key is in the middle. There is no doubt that children need independence and autonomy when doing exercises. We parents must be clear that the protagonists of their learning always have to be them. However, in certain circumstances they may need help. Hence we should adopt a figure of support. In this way, we can detect the moments in which our children are lost, blocked or even frustrated and give them options. In this way we can guide them where they have to go.
On the other hand, falling on the opposite side, the one that leads us to do homework for children is also counterproductive. First of all, children do not learn school lessons, but also, we do not teach them to solve the problems that are in their way. Also, when we do their things for them, we send the message that we do better than they do or that they are not trained to deal with the problem. Therefore, this may have consequences on your self-esteem and confidence in themselves.
And do we have to correct homework for children? Nerea Riveiro recommends not doing it, since in this way the teachers will know what lessons or knowledge they should reinforce. However, remember that in many schools at the beginning of the year the teachers set the guidelines to follow in relation to this issue.
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