Can Homework be Fun????

Homework Yes it can.  It takes a bit of disguise and derring-do, but homework can be great fun for the entire family.  How do I know? Pure panic and desperation.

All parents know that homework isn’t about learning academics, it’s about learning how to be a grown up.   It’s about following through and fulfilling a commitment.  And, oh what a tough lesson it is, especially when the commitment deadline falls on a beautiful day or a shoe sale.

If you’ve tried everything that the experts have told you to do regarding good homework practices – like making sure your child has enough rest, a set time for homework, a set place for homework, no known other learning disabilities, good lighting, a full tummy– and none of it seems to be working, then here are a few desperation-generated alternatives:

1. Powerful incentives. This one never fails…Absolutely no Wii until at least one page of homework is finished, and then and only then can the reluctant student play all 32 time trial races.

2. Creative competition. An irresistible challenge does wonders.  Try this on your homework-avoidant offspring: “Sweetie, can you finish your math facts before Mom finishes packing your lunch?”   (For this  to work, make sure your child always wins, even if it takes you an hour and a half to make a sandwich).

3. Spelling word Pictionary.  After his turn to draw on our whiteboard, my son always blurts out the answer before anyone has a chance to guess.  This can work in your favor…make up a rule so that whoever answers first has to spell the word!

4. Taking turns being the teacher.  It is quite comical to see how a child interprets his teacher’s mannerisms. Through Connor’s outstanding mimicry, we discovered what a kind and loving teacher he has this year, and what a wonderfully stern taskmaster she can be when children misbehave.  You go, Mrs. C!

5. Think yucky.  Anything that eats its young,  drops its tail and excretes poison through scaly and/or slimy skin is an irresistible come-on to a reading-averse youngster. Make sure you have lots of books about reptiles and amphibians to help meet those 1/2 an hour per day reading requirements.

6. Be relevant.  Keep in mind that an assignment that involves writing a paragraph or a story can be about ANYTHING.  A favorite movie, a video game or an unusual episode, such as the curious incident of how our dog ate her own yurp (see #5 above) all work just fine. Just get the darn thing written.

7. Go on Vacation.  Why homework is fun on vacation but not at home eludes me, but my son loves to do homework on an airplane.  Hurray for fare wars!

….And if all else fails, put the responsibility back on his or her shoulders.  One afternoon, I threw up my hands, and said, “Son, I’ve tried everything I know to get you to do your homework.  If you don’t want to do it, I can’t make you. The consequences are in your hands now — it is up to you and only you if you want to move up to third grade, or to behave like a big boy or to help the teachers who have been trying to help you.”  Then, I cried (but I didn’t want to lay a guilt trip on him, so I did my sniffling in another room).  After about five minutes, he came to the kitchen table, sat down and began to complete his homework. I can’t say that this works every time – it doesn’t – but it gave me a glimpse of the man my son will grow up to be.

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L. Mae Wilkinson
Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.
L. Mae Wilkinson

autismisnottheboss

Quiet advocate, volunteer parent mentor. Semi-retired corporate marketing and management consultant.

0 thoughts on “Can Homework be Fun????

  • August 14, 2009 at 8:24 pm
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    When you’re homework starts getting to 10 pages a night, those incentives don’t get very desirable IMO

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  • August 14, 2009 at 1:16 pm
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    It could be if it’s in a subject you are truly interested in like the body, animals, poetry… etc. Only if you like what you are doing homework about.

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  • August 14, 2009 at 12:15 pm
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    LOL @ the guilt tripping. xD

    Homework can be funnnn even without the effort if you genuinely enjoy the subject. Otherwise, those are great examples.

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  • August 14, 2009 at 4:44 am
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    I use to study in cafes, but nowadays, studying is a lot of fun from just knowing what kind of mood you’re in and when best to study then when ur in a good mood and receptive to new things!

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  • August 14, 2009 at 12:57 am
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    Well, last semester I handled the painstaking cascade of BioChemistry and Physics homework with a couple large glasses of various wines. However, I’m not sure if that practice would be as condusive for minors. Never say never, eh?

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  • August 13, 2009 at 10:25 pm
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    1. Powerful incentives. This one never fails…Absolutely
    no Wii until at least one page of homework is finished, and then and
    only then can the reluctant student play all 32 time trial races.

    They teach in education classes that you should not use physical rewards because when it’s not there anymore they’ll lack motivation. Instead, verbal praise can work better in most cases 🙂

    Reply
  • August 13, 2009 at 9:56 am
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    HW can be fun or at least less painless if it is relevant, not drill and kill, appropriately leveled for your child and something they can do semi independently if not independently. 

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  • August 12, 2009 at 10:11 pm
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    I love computer science projects.  I’ll teach my kids to write programs to do their hw for them =)

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  • August 12, 2009 at 9:05 pm
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    As a high school mathematics teacher, I know for sure homework can be fun, and I strive to make each and every one of my homework assignments fun and engaging.

    @openmindedgirlk@xanga – Trust me, get ahold of one of my Calculus or Statistics assignments and discover the definition of fun. 

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  • August 12, 2009 at 9:01 pm
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    I think homework is fun when ur younger, but the older u get the more “textbook” it gets like its just facts that you have to learn. It takes an imginative person to make them come alive teachers, as well as parents. such as field trips, games, or relating interst. My teacher would make us do a relay race in U.S. History.

    Reply

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