Homework Motivation

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.

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?

My own children are both 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 extra curricular or a job which kept her from completing it earlier.

Somehow I lucked out in the high school teenager lottery for school motivation.

Now, let’s talk about the opposite end of the spectrum:  my 10-year son.  He comes home after school, tosses his backpack (filled with crumpled up papers that never made it into his folder), tosses his coat on the floor, and immediately grabs a snack.  If I’m not watching, he attempts to sneak upstairs and grab his video games.  This would continue until either the world actually freezes over or I have to be the bad mom who needs him to put them away until homework is finished.

When this happens, it would appear that the world has ended and I’m the meanest person in the world.

Can anyone else relate?  That is what happens to parents at home when their kids don’t have motivation to do school work once they come home from school.  {Is it summer break, yet?}

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.  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 favorite 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 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 in wider intervals.  Eventually, rewards won’t need to be given as the behavior will be a new habit.

Motivational Quotes for Homework

Here are some great motivational quotes to share with kids as they are starting or ending their homework routine for the day.  All are from famous athletes or coaches:

-“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” – Tim Notke

-“It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.” – Babe Ruth

-“The harder the battle, the sweeter the victory.” – Les Brown

-“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.” – Dean Karnazes

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-“If you aren’t going all the way, why go at all?” – Joe Namath

-“Persistence can change failure into extraordinary achievement.” – Matt Biondi

-“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” – Wayne Gretzky

-“Without self-discipline, success is impossible, period.” – Lou Holtz

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?

-“It’s all about the journey, not the outcome.” – Carl Lewis

-“A champion is someone who gets up when he can’t.” – Jack Dempsey

-“To give any less than your best is to sacrifice a gift.” – Steve Prefontaine

-“Make each day your masterpiece.” – John Wooden

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?

-“The more difficult the victory, the greater the happiness in winning.” – Pele

-“It’s not the will to win that matters — everyone has that. It’s the will to prepare to win that matters.” – Paul “Bear” Bryant

-I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life a champion’. – Muhammad Ali

-“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” – Michael Jordan

-“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred Devito

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?

-“Champions keep playing until they get it right.” – Billie Jean King

-“Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won.” – Billy Bowerman

-“If you can’t outplay them, outwork them.” – Ben Hogan

-“There are only two options regarding commitment. You’re either IN or you’re OUT. There is no such thing as life in-between.” – Pat Riley

-“You’re never a loser until you quit trying.” – Mike Ditka

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?

-“It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get up.” – Vince Lombardi

-“The key is not the will to win. Everybody has that. It is the will to prepare to win that is important.” – Bobby Knight

-“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.” – Derek Jeter

How else can you help parents to overcome issues with student homework motivation?  We would love to hear your thoughts in a comment below!

~Charity

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