Because of the physical, emotional and social changes middle school students experience, they often lack the intrinsic motivation to do their homework. However, if parents create an environment that promotes diligence and structure and offers incentives for hard work, they can encourage their middle school students to complete homework daily.
Foster a Work Ethic
Students with a solid work ethic are more likely to finish tasks that they do not want to complete. Many middle school students think that if teachers do not grade homework every day, they do not have to complete it daily. Other students avoid difficult challenges, including tough homework assignments. When parents encourage a strong work ethic, they teach their children the importance of completing tasks and taking pride in what they do, no matter how unimportant or difficult an assignment seems.
Establish a Daily Homework Routine
Peg Dawson with the National Association of School Psychologists says that getting students to complete homework is easier if the task is associated with a daily routine. Parents should create a place for children to complete homework in an area away from the television and other distractions and stock it with supplies.The United States Department of Education suggests that students tackle the most difficult assignments first, so a student’s daily homework routine should include establishing the order in which she will complete her homework assignments.
Require a Daily Homework Log
According to James Lehman of Empowering Parents, students should maintain a daily homework journal or log to keep a written record of homework assignments. Basic components of a homework log include assignment dates, due dates, teacher’s names and subjects. In cooperation with the child’s teachers, parents should check the homework log daily and hold children accountable when they are dishonest or when they do not complete their homework assignments.
Incentives motivate middle school students to complete tasks such as homework, according to a research synthesis compiled by the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Parents can keep a calendar to monitor their child’s homework assignments. When the child completes all of his homework for a week, parents can reward him with points, a star on the calendar or homework "dollars." Parents should determine incentives based on their child’s interests. When students accumulate a specific number of points or dollars, parents reward them with a treat.
- Open Education: To Raise Smart and Successful Children, Focus on Developing a Work Ethic
- NASP online: Homework: A Guide for Parents
- United States Department of Education: Homework Tips for Parents
- Empowering Parents: Homework Survival for Parents
- ASCD.org: Synthesis of Research on Strategies for Motivating Students to Learn
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