Tips to Create an Effective Homework Policy

More often than not, the thought of homework brings out a dread-filled response from students. Getting them to submit assignments on time can prove to be quite a challenge for most teachers and parents. Especially when students receive homework in different subjects, every day, the task can become tedious. To get students to enthusiastically take on homework is an even bigger challenge that requires careful strategizing, meticulous planning, and an initiative on the part of both teachers and parents. A good homework policy can prove to be the key. When employed at home as well as at school, such policies can motivate students to find and strike a healthy balance between academics as well as extracurricular activities.

Research suggests that kids do better in school when parents participate in their homework actively. This helps kids believe that their parents are interested in what they do and consider it important.

Tips for Parents to Create a Successful Homework Policy:

  • Regular Study Time – Initially, this might make you feel like a strict parent from another generation. Many parents feel squeamish and refrain from setting aside regular study time to avoid alienating the kids. Let go off such notions. Get to know your child’s natural rhythms and work around it. Some kids are at their attentive best in the mornings while others might want to wait after dinner to concentrate and work effectively. Make sure to tap their productive hours in the best possible way.
  • Divide and Rule – For especially big or crucial assignments, help kids break down the task into smaller ones. Set time frames for each mini task. Encourage them to take breaks between tasks and use their break time to review the work they have done. This way, you can ensure they are on track. Remember to be appreciative. Monitoring and motivating should happen simultaneously.
  • Homework Friendly Environment – Remove unnecessary clutter. Keep all necessary supplies within easy reach, all distractions away, especially the mobile phone, television, games, etc. A clean, well-lit place is conducive to productivity. Also, make sure the kids are doing their work by themselves to maximize learning. Restrict your contribution to suggestions only.
  • Brain Power - Snacks are a great way to keep them energized while doing their homework. Yes, healthy snacks are great, but it won’t kill them to make some brownies or cookies every once in a while. Having a plate of snacks and a glass of water waiting for them on the usual work desk to get them motivated.

Tips for Teachers to Create a Successful Homework Policy:

  • Point Scheme – This might seem like a lot of work and quite a complex system, but it has an enviable track record and is worth getting into. In the beginning of the year, allot 50 or 100 points to each student. Then, have a point deduction scheme that subtracts points from each child’s point total for late submissions, missed assignments, etc. Depending on the gravity of the offense, deduct 1, 2 or 3 points (or devise a completely unique points system of your own) each time.
  • Involve Parents – The goal here is to ensure parents are aware of the developments in school. This, in turn, allows the parents to make the environment at home as homework friendly as possible. Getting parents involved is a good way of ensuring that kids submit assignments on time. However, make sure the parents are only actively encouraging the kids to work on their assignments on time, and not doing it for them.
  • Engage – Unimaginative tasks are one of the biggest reasons that prevent students from willingly working on their assignments. So, after a lesson in writing comprehension, do not ask them to write an essay on their last vacation. Why not ask them to write an original story of their own instead?
  • Homework is a great way for kids to practice what they have learned in class. Encourage them to complete all their homework on time and accurately and watch their grades improve!

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