How to get through homework without stress (or tears!)

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I don’t know how it is at your house, but at our house, homework can be stressful. In fact, homework can actually cause our kids to be so frustrated that they are in tears. 

“I don’t understand how you can subtract a number from zero!”  or “Why does a pronoun not work in that sentence?  I don’t understand.”  – as it was accompanied by whining, tears, and arguments.

Making homework fun

As a mom and former teacher, I was tired of the nightly homework battles, and I didn’t want our kids to remember homework in an unpleasant way.  I wanted them to remember that homework was an extra way to learn more, to expand on what they had learned in school and a way to show us what they had accomplished.  

HOW TO MAKE HOMEWORK FUN

Special Areas Make Homework Fun

I have always loved creating special nooks and areas to get the kids excited about getting work done. When they were little they loved to hang a sheet over the dining room table and make a reading fort or a special spot to play games. So, doesn’t it make sense that in order to make homework fun, a special nook or area would be a great way to do it?!

If setting something up at home isn’t your cup of tea, try heading to the coffee shop or a little outdoor bistro. Sometimes, when my son is feeling particularly overwhelmed with homework and I have a ton of work to get done, we grab our laptops and head out to work at our favorite diner.

We order snacks and drinks and spend an hour or so working while munching away on fries. The change of scenery makes his homework (and my work!) a lot more manageable and fun! The park is another great option for taking homework if a coffee shop or diner isn’t your thing.

Team Work Makes Homework Fun

A couple of years ago, my son’s friend suggested they have a study date. Think of it like a preschooler’s playdate – except the kids are older and instead of playing, they’re studying for a test or working on math homework.
I was hesitant to say yes because I thought for sure they’d spend the time joking around and would get nothing done. Surprisingly, they not only finished their homework, but they also helped each other out when the other got stuck.

It was great teamwork and they had a blast. My son later said that he didn’t feel like it was homework at all!

Now, my younger kids wouldn’t be able to handle a study date, but we make homework fun by having me help them. Need to study for a spelling test? Let’s break out the sidewalk chalk and write them in the driveway. Have a math quiz tomorrow? We can practice with flashcards while we’re sitting in the hammocks.

It doesn’t matter where or what we do, the fact that they’re not sitting there alone makes it a lot more fun!

Beat the Clock

On those nights when the amount of homework and the time it’s going to take seems overwhelming, we play a game called Beat the Clock. I break out the plastic timer and the kids focus for short bursts of time to get their homework done.

We create challenges like:
How many words can you write correctly and neatly in 5 minutes?
How many math problems can you solve correctly in 10 minutes?

They then race to beat the clock and get their homework done before the buzzer goes off. Sometimes we need to reset the buzzer, but that’s okay because homework is then a game and more fun.

Making homework fun begins with helping kids find the right mindset. Instead of viewing it as drudgery, when they think of it as a game or an opportunity to spend time with you, they’re much more likely to do it and have fun.

When you change their perspective about it, their entire approach to homework changes too.

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