Do your students have intrinsic homework motivation?  Or are you spending way too much time attempting to get their homework turned in on time and complete?

While there is much debate about whether homework is even beneficial, if you are required to assign it, I suggest encouraging parents to set up a designated spot for homework assignment work at home.  Keep reading for some tips to pass along.

My own children are two very different creatures.  My oldest daughter, who is now a college graduate, was always really good about being self-motivated to come home after school, sit down, and get her homework finished before she did anything else.  The only late nights spent studying were the ones where she had an after school extracurricular or a job which kept her from completing it earlier.

How do you get students motivated to do their homework?

While teachers have a toolbox for increasing school motivation during the school day, perhaps parents are able to help the process along at home too.

Having a dedicated homework station in the home is a good start.  Even if it’s not a desk or a separate room, children will be able to focus more, stop procrastinating as much, and get their homework done faster if they have a safe place with a specific purpose.

Options for homework completion locations:

  • At a dedicated desk just for the child – obvious, but not always available to most
  • Kitchen table – also obvious, but not as “exclusive” if there are tons of other distractions atop the table
  • An unused bunk bed – a “mini office” for completing the work
  • Secret homework tent under a table – I love this one!  Place sheets on top of the table to create a homework fort.  A child can use a chair as a makeshift desk
  • Cardboard box – No extra furniture?  No problem.  Find any box and have the student decorate it.  It can be a large refrigerator box that can be used as a separate homework office or even a small box that can be flipped over to be used as a writing surface.

Things to have prepared in this spot:

  • Small snack prepped on the “desk”
  • Coffee mug filled with pencils, scissors, glue, pencil sharpener, or any other school supply the child typically uses for his or her assigned homework
  • A child-friendly playlist ready to go if the child prefers to work with background noise – the best music to have is instrumental because students aren’t listening to the words (Gary Lamb is perfect)
  • Inviting decor:  motivational posters, their favourite stuffed animal, fresh flowers, etc.

Routines to have set up:

When is the cue that it is time to start homework?  When the child walks through the door, after dinner, after chores, at a certain specific time of the day, etc.

When the cue begins, what does the child do first?  Eat a small snack in the homework location, take their folder out of their bookbag and get out the papers that need to be completed, make sure a pencil is sharpened, etc.

How will the child know when the homework session is complete?  Break down the papers into mini sessions, a visual timer that is set on a clock or microwave, when the worked has been looked over by a parent, work is complete/accurate/neat, etc.

The routine should be set up as a parent/child team together.  Give the student some say in this daily task and there will be less pullback.  Once the routine has been set and agreed upon, it is to be repeated exactly the same way day after day.  In the long run, it will become second nature for the student.

Find what works best for your child.  Any routine should be flexible to meet those needs otherwise you aren’t any better off than before.

One last tip:  Set goals and rewards for completing the routine.  At first, the rewards will be given for completing the routine (or even one step of the routine) just once (today).  As time progresses, rewards will be given at wider intervals.  Eventually, rewards won’t need to be given as the behaviour will be a new habit.

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