Motivating kids to do homework can be tricky, after all, who actually likes it? Studying at home after school always seems like a chore. Here are some great tips to motivate a child to do homework.
Make it manageable
Firstly, to encourage kids to do homework, make it short and quite easy. When kids find a task relatively easy, they are more likely to do it. On the other hand, if kids are unclear about their homework, they probably just won’t do it. If the assignment is too hard for kids to do on their own, then many won’t do it because there may not be anyone at home to help them. Others will give up because the task is overwhelming. So, keep your homework accessible and offer your best pupils something extra to challenge them.
Make it relevant
Keep topics relevant to your students’ interests. If homework is related to things the class enjoy, students are more likely to be interested in doing it. For example, football fans would most likely enjoy preparing a profile of their favorite player for homework and presenting it to class.
Always acknowledge and take an interest in homework done – either have buddy-marking or mark it yourself. Or, even better, you might use the assignment for a class activity. Either way, students don’t like doing tasks in a void.
Get students to work together on homework tasks in pairs. It can be fun to get together and prepare something as a team. However, please check that everyone has a partner and take steps to prevent students from being excluded. With that in mind, specify that people may work alone if they choose.
Make the homework fun!
How to motivate a child to do homework? Make it fun!
Vary the type of homework. It can be limiting to give the same types of task, such as gap-fill, reading and writing, especially to students with other learning styles. However, if your lessons are active, then sedentary, written tasks are ideal for homework to consolidate learning. On the other hand, if kids spend all day reading and writing at a desk in school, please see if your home assignments can be different. Here are some ideas:
Prepare a 20-second mime and describe what you are doing in English by heart. The idea is that the class will be able to guess what you are miming before 20 seconds are up. To help get students started, give them a theme. It might be an emotion, a place, an activity, something in the daily routine, or a scene, such as shopping or buying a ticket.
Take a photograph and prepare to describe it in class. The picture could be something at home, a person, a pet, or something you see on the way home from school. First describe your photo to class, then perhaps give three reasons why you chose that item, or three things you like about it. Next, play a creative game where kids pick a random photo and invent a reason why this item is essential to life or why it is dangerous.
Draw pictures of 3 vocabulary words, learn them and put them into a sentence containing all three. Next, learn your sentence by heart for class the next day.
Draw and decorate a game board, such as a snakes and ladders board. Bring it to class and play in groups with vocabulary or grammar questions the teacher provides.
Draw a plan of your house and prepare to describe it to class the next day.
Students paint or draw their favourite animal and decorate the classroom with their pictures. Then play some classroom games using the artwork.
Make some fake money to use in class role-plays or a game like Shop-a-holics (176 English Language Games for Children)
Find stuff at home
Bring in something that smells and know what it is in English. Then hide all the items in the classroom and have kids smell and guess what they are in teams. Hiding places could be under a book or paper. Avoid hiding things in people’s personal affairs to avoid potential problems with that.
Bring in an object you can name in English. Place ten things in cardboard boxes numbered one to ten around the room. Cut a small hole in each box. Next, put kids in teams and have them reach in and feel the items. Then they write down their guesses, numbered 1-10. After five minutes, see what answers you have and reveal the objects. However, teams don’t get a point if they can’t name the item in English!
Find five items at home that start with the letters A-E. Ask kids for their answers in the next lesson, and anyone with a unique item gets triple points for their team. If that goes well, then do the letters F-J the next day.
Find five things at home that measure approximately 1cm, 10 cm, 50 cm, 1 m, and 2 m. Use feet and inches if those are more relevant.
Resources for motivating a child to do homework
Read more about how to motivate a child to do homework here: The benefits of homework.