We are all guilty! We sit at work and, when temptation calls, access our personal email or our Facebook accounts; we are working on a big project at home and, instead of television, it is Facebook, Pinterest, emails, YouTube, or some other more entertaining site that beckons! And yet, when we catch our kids using their devices for these purposes, when they are supposed to be busy with school work, we become somehow personally offended – how dare they not make homework their top priority!
The first defense against neglect of school work is, obviously, to set some household rules. Setting a designated time for homework should be carved in stone, and all devices should be held until that time is up. In some instances, especially for younger children, a physical place for homework that can be visually monitored may also be a good idea. These “rules” may work to a certain point, but often assignments require word processing, Internet access for research, and participation in online discussion groups and/or blackboards. Accept it – you cannot control everything in this age of technology, just as your boss cannot control you!
Tips to Encourage Interest in Studying
- Participate: No matter what the topic and no matter what the grade level of your child, if you ask the right questions you can find out about homework assignments that will involve computer use and/or research. You are then in a position to participate. Give your student some tips on writing that essay; offer to edit the essay if s/he can get it finished within the next hour and email it over to you!
- Find the cool sites: There is not a topic on earth that does not have a presence on the web. While your student is procrastinating in his/her room and texting, emailing or posting on Facebook, you do some digging on the current topic for a research paper and find the coolest sites you can – sites that have lots of verbally supplied information, animation and graphics. Get excited as you burst into his/her room and say, “Look what I found – how cool is this?” Type that URL address into his/her computer, and let it roll.
- Give Incentives: While many parents and educators still insist that kids should not be rewarded for doing what they are supposed to, this is just “hogwash.” Kids do not get a strong sense of satisfaction from “patting themselves on the back” for a job well done – they are just not “there” yet. And, as well, every working adult has an external incentive to perform on the job – a paycheck! So, find out what will motivate your kid, both short- and long-term, and use these things as “carrots.” If they want a new phone app or a new video game, then getting all homework finished on time for a week may earn that; if they can get an “A” or “B” on that math test coming up, it’s worth something else just as valuable to them. And over the long-term, good quarter and semester grades should be worth something more, and, to keep them on track, remind them often of the reward that is coming!
It is the rare child or teen that looks forward to studying. To be honest, if you are the lucky parent of a kid who is fully self-motivated, your life is infinitely easier. But if you have a student with just average to below-average motivation in the realm of school work, then your task is not to punish when your expectations are not met; your task is to become a supportive participant and to provide the incentives that will motivate.
Contributor: Kateline Jefferson believes that, only through experiential knowledge does one become an engaging and creative writer. Her degree in Journalism and a host of real-world study and experience, has made her a permanent and popular blogger for PremierEssay.com.