“Dear homework, please, please go away.”
If you are a parent like me, chances are this request will sound familiar to you. Homework, especially math homework, often sends students and even their parents into a loop. Maths is about practise. The more your kids practice what they learn, the better they will get at this subject. But, it’s difficult for your kids to focus on numbers, theorems, mathematical formulas, etc., after long hectic regular school hours. They may even have to burn the midnight oil to complete their papers on time.
Math homework is also equally tiring for parents since we are the ones who have to ensure our kids get the homework done with positivity in their minds. Homework isn’t that bad, honestly. It is meant to boost your kids’ strengths and knowledge about the specific subject. If done properly, this task can prepare the child for the cut-throat competition ahead. Here are the 6 effective tips and tricks to help parents get their child to do math homework without losing their minds.
1. Set up an appropriate study space
Your child’s study space impacts her ability to study effectively. They can’t concentrate if they are not comfortable, let alone learn something new. Thus, it is important that you create a study space that fosters productivity and minimizes distractions for your kid. The study space determines how well your child can study and for how long. Remember, it varies from person to person. So, if you are comfortable with specific study space, that doesn’t mean your child will feel the same in that environment.
Here are the factors to consider:
- A designated space- Figure out if your child is more productive in a closed or an open environment. Create the space accordingly.
- Appropriate attitude and atmosphere- Decide what temperature or lighting boosts your kid’s ability to concentrate. After all, math homework is not possible without undivided attention.
- Study tools & organization- Keep all the essential study supplies like note cards, calculators, notebooks, etc., handy.
2. Limit distractions as much as possible
Creating a suitable study space is one step. But, if the study space is constantly intervened by distractions, it will be of no use. So, the homework zone for your kid should be free from all sorts of distractions. The distractions can include unnecessary noises from the TV or when siblings or pets enter the room trying to distract the child from focusing on the homework. At times, distractions might not seem distractions to you, but they can take a toll on your kid’s ability to focus on math.
So, here are three tips to limit distractions as much as possible:
- Put your phones on silent mode. Even better, keep it at the other end of the room. Does your child own a smartphone? Turn that off, too, as long as the homework isn’t finished.
- Turn off the social media notifications. See, you have to help your child do their math homework. How can you expect them to concentrate when you are busy scrolling through your Instagram newsfeed all the time?
- Teach your child breathing exercises that he/she can execute to fight off their urge to succumb to distractions. All of us come from different backgrounds. So, it might not be possible for everyone to limit the distraction just by shutting themselves inside a room.
Relationships are important. But, make sure they don’t interrupt your kid’s math homework. For instance, let’s say your mom video calls you exactly when you are ready to help your kid complete her math homework. Just answer the call and tell her that you would ring her back in an hour or so.
3. Keep the necessary resources and tools handy
Math isn’t like any other subject in your curriculum. You may only need the textbooks to learn the other subjects like English. But, for maths, you need textbooks, geometry boxes, a stash of pencils, a notebook, etc. Your child will need these essentials while doing her math homework. And if you don’t keep these things handy, a lot of time may go to waste in an attempt to get these essentials ready. So, it is better that you do it beforehand.
The resources to keep in handy for math homework:
- Math problem solver- It is normal to doubt the accuracy of the results in the math homework. So, that is when you can use the math problem solver to see if the answers are accurate or not.
- K-5 teaching resources– This website is full of interactive games and activities that let you and your kid get the hang of multiple topics in mathematics. You can choose from multiple topics such as geometry, measurements, number sense, etc.
- NCTM illuminations- This site consists of lessons, games, and brainteasers to strengthen your and your child’s mathematical knowledge and skills. You need these skills to help your kids do their math homework.
- A cheat sheet- No, I am not talking about a sheet that will help your kid cheat during homework sessions. Rather, a cheat sheet consists of all the frequently used formulas and theorems so that your child can just open the sheet and take a look at the formula in case he forgets it during working on the paper.
4. Work on your time management skills
Parents often assume math homework to be as easy as other subjects. So, they leave the task until just before bedtime, and that is when they realize this paper takes more time than anticipated. Thus, you should work on your time management skills to make sure your kid can do the math homework hassle-free. Start by setting a time frame for the homework. For instance, let’s say your kid can focus better during the afternoon. So, you can set the time 2.30 pm to 4.30 pm for the math homework.
- Similarly, do not force your kids to do the homework when they are tired or distracted. For example, the time before bedtime is absolutely not a good time for your kids to focus on math homework.
- Does the math homework require your child to get together with other classmates? Is it a group project or something like that? Then weekend mornings or afternoons would be a good time for your kid to do their homework.
- Also, do not forget to give your child some control over her schedule. You need to understand some children require long breaks after school while others may like to start with their homework right away.
5. Foster confidence in your kids
The lack of confidence is one of the main reasons why most children refrain from doing their homework. This feeling may arise because of the low grades your child might have achieved in this paper or due to the complexities involved in mathematics. Your kids may feel that they aren’t smart enough for the subject and may start shutting themselves down. Instead of encouraging this lack of confidence, you must try building their confidence.
Here’s how to boost your kid’s confidence in maths:
- Try out new approaches to help with the homework- Incorporate various approaches to develop your kid’s love for math.
- Make them believe they can do it- After every problem that they solve, tell them, “You can do the rest of the problems too because you are smart enough.”
- Give enough thought and time to each topic– Your child needs a specific amount of time to get the hang of every mathematical concept easily. You need to provide them with that time instead of rushing them into completing the paper.
6. Focus on metacognitive strategies
You are not going to help your child do their math homework forever. They have to learn to work on their math homework no matter how much they dislike the subject. You can implement metacognitive strategies to hone their metacognitive skills among children. That is how they will learn when and which questions to skip to get the easy ones done first.
Here are the three parts of metacognitive skills:
- Plan– Your children should be able to know how to approach mathematical problems. They need to first determine the problem they need to solve in the paper and then choose an appropriate strategy to solve the problems.
- Monitor– Children should be able to check whether their problem-solving strategies are working or not. After solving the problem, they should check if the answer makes sense.
- Modify– Children should be flexible enough to modify their approaches if they find out their current problem-solving approach isn’t working out as planned.
Math homework is inevitable no matter which part of the world you are in. And the struggle to get this paper is real. So, don’t blame yourself if you end up frustrated and annoyed due to the complexities of this discipline. Instead, take a deep breath and take the initiative to implement the steps mentioned above. Good Luck.