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7 Homework Habits to Set Your Child Up for Academic Success
  • Duke University psychology professor Harris Cooper had conducted a comprehensive research that showed homework resulted in better test scores and improved "study habits, attitudes toward school, self-discipline, inquisitiveness and independent problem solving skills."

    Prof. Cooper also noted he examined other studies that practically showed the opposite: kids experienced emotional fatigue and had limited leisure time from doing homework.

    Homework is a source of heated debate (do our kids have too much?), but there is no escape from it yet especially in the current traditional educational system. Here's how we can help our kids see it as less of a chore but more of fun learning experience beyond the classroom. 

    1. Agree on a regular homework time

    To ensure that your child’s homework gets done every day, have an agreed upon homework time. This doesn’t have to be an hour on the clock. HealthyChildren.org, the parenting resource site run by the American Academy of Pediatrics, says that some kids don’t respond well when there’s a set time, like 4 o’clock in the afternoon. Instead, see what works best for your child. Is she more motivated to work right after she gets home from school or after she has merienda? 

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    2. Have a designated study spot
    Just like how adults need an area to work, kids need space to concentrate on homework. Some children work best when they’re working in their room and some prefer the kitchen table with other family members coming and going around them. 

    “No matter what place you choose, it needs to be well lit and quiet, without the distractions of the television set, other children playing, or people talking on the telephone,” says AAP. Have writing and coloring materials ready and within reach of your child as well. 

    3. Be nearby
    At preschool age, kindergarten teacher Lori Durocher says it helps if parents stick around while the kids do their homework. You can go over the homework instructions together and ask your child to explain what he needs to do to complete it. Then, let him do his homework on his own but don’t leave. “You should be nearby but not next to him,” Durocher says. “This empowers him.” If he doesn't understand something, you'll be nearby to clarify. 

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    4. Let your child make mistakes
    Look over your child’s work when he’s finished, point out to him where he might have wrong answers written down but don’t fix his mistakes for him. Your child’s answers are the teacher’s gauge on how well your child has learned his lessons. Making mistakes is an important part of the learning process and your child’s development. “Letting her work through her assignment will teach her persistence and help her build grit,” says Cathy Vatterott, Ph.D., professor of education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis and author of Rethinking Homework.

    5. Make it fun
    If you’re helping your child learn new concepts like addition and subtraction, think up ways to make studying fun, advises Katherine Lee, a former editor at Parenting and Working Mother, in an article for VeryWell. This will help your child foster a positive attitude towards homework and make it less of a chore for him. In the math example above, Lee says to try “using small toys such as marbles or even playing cards” to help your child visualize math problems. 

    6. Have breaks
    If there’s a lot of homework to get through, make sure you child gets breaks in between to recharge. “Young children (age 4-5) can usually concentrate for somewhere between 5 and 20 minutes, depending on the task -- less time with novel and challenging tasks, and more time with those intrinsically enjoyable activities,” says clinical psychologist Jamie M. Howard, Ph.D., says in an article for PBS.org. Let your move around a bit, eat a snack or do simple activities, like watering the plants, for a few minutes in between homework tasks.  

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    7. Use gadgets as a tool for learning
    “We're living in a world where the digital age is here. It's a reality. It's a tool that's necessary,” says Michelle Lichauco-Tambunting, co-founder and directress of Young Creative Minds Preschool. “If there's something my 9-year-old son doesn't know, the first thing he does is do a search for it online. We are living in a digital age that's just going to get complex and complicated. If I stop him from it, mahuhuli siya.” 

    So, the best thing to do is to make gadgets work for you instead of against you. Consider letting your child learn more about a subject through a website or an app. It’s what homeschooling couple Edric and Joy Mendoza do in their household of five children. “I don't think screen time is bad as long as it's purposeful,” says the mom. See their kids’ favorite educational apps and sites here

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