Friday, May 23, 2014

Different Tools for Focusing During Homework

 Stowell Learning Center offers tools for focusing during homework.

We're getting to that time of year when 2 important things are happening:

  1. There are more distractions and disruptions than any other time of the year

  2. There are more fun, outside-of-school activities.
Both of these factors work against kids wanting to sit and do homework.  Getting their bodies to keep still and stop moving does NOT mean their minds are really focused on getting homework done.
Below you'll find a couple of ideas to help get kids "zero in" on their homework, despite the number of "more interesting" things that might be on their minds.
Remember, these are young, immature minds (yes, even the teenagers).  Just telling them to do things isn't always enough.
Here's to having the best school year ever,
Make it Fun, Physical, or Novel
Having trouble keeping "on task" and focused on their homework?  Here's what one mom told us:
At eight years old, my son was an excellent hockey player and a pretty good reader.  But when we studied his sight word flashcards, he'd get very upset if he didn't get the words right.
To make practicing the flashcards more fun, and help him lighten up a bit, we made a big deal of throwing all of the words he missed into the "penalty box."  (Actually, I just tossed them over my shoulder and made a lot of noise).
But it made him laugh and gave us the opportunity to practice the words again when they "came out of the penalty box."
Kids love to be silly or do things in a different way.  If homework is becoming drudgery, try making it fun, physical, or different.  There are LOTS of ways to do this...Let your imagination run wild.  Here are 3 suggestions:
  • When studying spelling or math facts, try using a white board or sidewalk chalk on the cement to make it different and fun.

  • Set up little contests - "You got 3 right all by yourself in this row.  Do you think you can beat your score on the next row?" "You finished this section in 6 minutes.  Do you think you can beat your time on your time on the next section?"

  • Act out ideas, characters, plots or events to help with understanding and remembering information.
By making it more fun, playful, or physical ( or all three!) students are more willing to get their work done, especially during this time of the school year.

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