Setting The Scene
Your boss wants that report before you leave tonight so that she can prepare before tomorrow mornings meeting, your partner is away on business so you’re picking up the kids from after school club, you’ll then have to negotiate rush hour traffic (while refereeing the arguments from the back!), get everyone into the house including their jackets, bags, lunch boxes, toy aeroplane and of course the pretty leaf found on the ground……. and did I mention it’s pouring with rain?! Once everyone’s inside you need to create a quick, nutritious and well-balanced dinner….. or two depending on what mood little Jonny’s in! After pleading with the kids to eat their vegetables it’s time to pop little Jonny in front of the tv with his favourite night-time programme whilst you clear the table to make room for the eldest child’s homework.
After stacking all the day’s mail and catalogues in a pile at one end of the dinner table you quickly pull the homework out, skim over the teachers guidance notes and instruct your child to work through their activity book whilst you take the opportunity to check Facebook on your mobile. Your child starts to ask a question and before he can complete his sentence you give him the answer and he happily works through completing the book as instructed. The house phone rings so you go into the other room to answer it and it’s Jane who’s had the most amazing weekend away at an exclusive spa and she wants to tell you all about it. You take the phone back into the room where your son is doing his homework, you look over his shoulder to ensure he’s ‘on track’ as you walk around the room listening to Jane (who has no children) talk about the 1hr hot stone massage and amazing degustation menu. Your child gets to the end of the worksheet and then you tell him to quickly run upstairs for bath time.
On the weekend you and your son identify a quiet, comfortable, well-lit, and clutter free area where you both agree will be a great learning environment. After dinner, you both sit down beside each other at your ‘new learning area’ (not homework area) and you both take 3 deep breaths before starting. You both talk about tonight’s game plan and how you’re going to tackle it i.e. start with english, then math and finish with science. While working through the learning you should try to relate it to the ‘real world’ so it has context outside of the school and so that it’s easily identifiable. You will encourage problem solving and critical thinking instead of just memorizing the content. Be supportive and offer praise for correct answers and work through their thinking on incorrect answers. Have you ever noticed yourself when something’s fun your level of engagement increases? Try and develop a ‘learning is fun’ attitude and ideally offer a rewards and consequences system to encourage positive attitudes and behaviours.
As the producer of your child’s learning environment and by creating Option 2 you will provide a structured, comfortable, safe and enjoyable learning environment which will reinforce your child’s learning’s from school, as well as create a dedicated time for some one to one time for you both.
For some inspiration and ideas on how to create the right learning environment check out some of our favourites on Pinterest http://uk.pinterest.com/examelf/homework/
Finally, if your children are aged 9-11 then they might like our latest math app ExamElf which is free to download! This educational mathematics app has been designed to help students by reinforcing content and by preparing them with standardized testing practices.