Homing in on homework

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 15 December, 2007, 12:00am

Cheryl Raper from Sylvan Learning Centre has these tips to make homework less of a chore:

Know your child. Learners are either visual (seeing), auditory (hearing), or haptic (doing). If you help your child work within his personal style, he'll work more effectively.

Divide homework into sections so your child can take several breaks. This can either take the form of the number of questions completed before the break (better for children who get distracted easily) or how much time the child works before a break is taken. Work together with your child to discover what's manageable. Remember, everyone is individual. Decide with your child what activity will happen during the breaks to make this a desired goal to help motivate your child.

Motivate your child by setting up a reward system. For example, deposit change in a jar when homework is complete. As soon as the jar is full, treat your child to something enjoyable.

Encourage your child to choose a classmate with whom he can study and swap reading books.

Set goals. Help your child set attainable goals for each class and help her identify what will need to be done to reach each goal.

Create a homework zone. Set up an area in your home for studying, complete with a dictionary, paper and pens. Make sure the area is free from potential distractions and that study tools are at your child's fingertips to keep him focused on homework.

Develop class files. Develop a colour-coded file for each of your child's classes. Make separate tabs for homework assignments, exams and projects, so your child can refer back to class materials when studying for comprehensive tests.

Set weekly milestones. For big projects or exams, get a large calendar for your child's desk area and help him set short timelines to ensure projects and studying aren't left until the night before. Celebrate with your child when each milestone is met.