My older niece likes to check over her homework when she's done. When it's something like matching words to their definitions or word search, she often has trouble following the lines she's drawn to make sure she did it right.
Now we color code it. Every time she connects words, or finds a word in a word search, she uses one color of crayon to mark it. If she has to cross out a word to keep track, she uses the same crayon. Each answer gets a different color. Simple and easy — and probably easier for her teacher to check as well.
(You can use colored pencil for sharper lines and easy erasability, of course. She marks it out in pencil and then goes over in her first checkthrough. Little perfectionist.)
Homework is a strange beast. For some (like Connie's niece, it sounds like), homework is a way to express one's enjoyment of precision, and pride in one's work. I know plenty of kids that like doing homework, in the same way they enjoy doing other detailed projects.
For others, homework is a chore to be gotten through. For those kids, this hack may add just enough visual interest and variety to keep them focused.
Sarah made just this point a couple years ago with respect to younger kids who are still adjusting to homework requirements: that using different colors helps kindergarteners and 1st graders stay on task.
There's much more I could say about homework (I've got opinion to spare on the topic), but I'll step away from the soapbox for now so we can focus on practical homework strategies. Here are a few gems from the archives:
- Homework tips? Talk amongst yourselves. Tons of great advice from Parenthackers.
- Store homework in a bin on top of the fridge. I intend to resurrect the "keeping homework organized" conversation…I've got many more ideas now that my kids are older. When that post went up, my kids were 6 and 2! Homework was barely on the radar!
- Homework first thing in the morning? It may work for your kid. I always do my best work in the morning — your kid may, too.
- Spell out school year expectations with a back to school contract. Love this.
- Set up a homework station to make afterschool assignments easier.
- Kitchen timer: multi-purpose tool of the gods! The key to homework anxiety management, in my opinion.
What are your family's little homework tricks?