What could this look like in a home environment?

Creating an Effective Learning Environment

  • Allow for choices and set expectations.

    Before establishing a homework routine, ask your child’s preferences. You may want to ask the following.

    • How do you want to spend your time after school?
    • Would you like a snack first?
    • Do you want to change into play clothes first?
    • Do you want time to rest or run outside and play?
    • Considering all of the activities that typically take place after school, when is the best time for you to do homework?

    Allowing choice will add to children’s sense of control and motivation to do the work during the allotted time. If, after a time, it doesn’t seem to be working, you can always re-evaluate together. Make adjustments. If you can be collaborative about setting up the time and space for homework, your child will be more likely to feel a sense of ownership over the process and less like they must battle you each night.

    (Confident Parents, Confident Kids)

    Use a timer.

    Take note of when your child has said it’s his/her best time of the afternoon/evening to do homework. Set a timer to go off at that time. Instead of you calling, “Time for homework!” which may incite a battle, an inanimate, dispassionate object is alerting him/her. You can use a kitchen timer outside or inside. If you are consistent about the homework routine, it can serve as a predictable, non-negotiable process. Your child knows what to expect and when to expect it.

    (Confident Parents, Confident Kids)

    Set up a conducive space.

    It doesn’t matter whether you have the perfect desk or not. What matters is that your child has a designated cleaned off, consistent space in which to do homework. And that he have the tools necessary to complete the work. Create that space in your living area or in a place near to what you will be doing. Decide together on the tools you’ll need at the ready in advance. Here are some space considerations.

    • Make certain that it’s a well-lit space. If not, then get a task lamp to utilize for homework.
    • Provide a hard work surface on which to write. Make sure the surface can get dirty with glue, markers or other mediums used.
    • Provide all likely homework tools (pencil, crayons, glue stick, markers, ruler, abacus, highlighter, dictionary, calculator).
    • Eliminate distractions from the work space (books, other papers, magazines, toys).
    • Create a folder or binder for all returned papers including graded homework. Keep it handy so that if it could help your child to refer back to a lesson, they can easily look up prior work.
    • Make sure it’s a quiet space. Turn off televisions or radios. Create rules for siblings about playing in other spaces and respecting homework quiet time.

    (Confident Parents, Confident Kids)

    Plan for Brain Breaks

    Research confirms that short breaks help a person’s brain refresh and process. Staring at the page may not produce any new thinking in your child and in fact, staying there when irritated can burn valuable fuel and decrease motivation to put in the hard work necessary to get through the learning process.

     (Confident Parents, Confident Kids)

    And what if there is a frustration tantrum?

    You hear a yell, “I just can’t do it!” Perhaps a pencil is flung across the room startling you out of your cooking revery. What do you do? If your child is passionately upset, then take a break. Move away from the homework space. Get a drink. Walk outside. Look at a favorite book. Cool off. S/he is not going to get anywhere with her homework in that state. Take as long as s/he needs to really cool down. Then, before returning to work, talk about what was frustrating him/her. Ask questions about him/her struggles so that before going back, you can consider how you might support her.

    (Confident Parents, Confident Kids)


Last Modified on March 31, 2020