3 steps to establishing routines in home learning

This article is part of a series of blogs on how to get started with home learning. Read part 1 here.

Home learning is a marathon not a sprint. As we settle in for the long haul as parents and carergivers, it’s important to remember that the key to any successful learning journey is consistency. ‘Little and often’ always trumps ‘trying too much too soon’.

For example, our research shows that when students spend 60 minutes a week on Math-Whizz, they increase their math knowledge (‘Math Age’) by an average of 18 months in the first year. So that’s 18 months of learning for 52 hours of effort. It’s tempting to think that you can get this learning all in one go – say, by doing 10 hours a day for five days, or even an hour a day spread over just more than 7 weeks. Over the years, we’ve seen children take to Math-Whizz with such enthusiasm. But there are several reasons we recommend no more than 90 minutes a week on Math-Whizz.

First, excessive screen time can be harmful to children’s development. What’s more, our brain needs time to make sense of new ideas and to see all the connections between them – there’s only so much we can productively take in at once. Finally, as with any activity, children risk burning out when they devote their energy all at once. It’s perfectly normal for children to feel the ‘5th week blues’ once their initial enthusiasm begins to wear off. Unfortunately, when children become inactive with their learning, the knowledge and skills they have acquired can slip away rapidly.

There are few things more effective in learning than following simple routines consistently. Here are 3 simple steps for ensuring your child stays motivated and retains all that hard-earned knowledge.

 

1. Build a weekly schedule

Agree a weekly schedule with your child. We advise breaking a piece of work into 3-4 sessions of around 20 minutes, which will help to embed learning as a habit.

Math-Whizz’s reporting features make it easy to manage a weekly schedule as you’re able to easily track how many minutes of usage your child has spent in the Tutor each week.

 

Give your child some responsibility by having them complete our free weekly planner, which you can download now.

 

2. Reward consistent progress

Learning isn’t about being the brightest or best, but the most consistent. Encourage your child to set weekly targets and to keep track of how they are progressing in the long term. Over time, you can measure their consistency by working out the proportion of weeks in which they achieved their targets.

On Math-Whizz, students are encouraged to make 3 Progressions a week by earning a gem. The more gems they earn, the higher their ‘status’ on Math-Whizz. The highest status of all is ‘Superstar’ – the ultimate recognition of consistent effort!

 

3. Create a reward system

You are best placed to judge what motivates your child. You may choose to create your own rewards at home that recognizes consistent effort and encourages your child to keep investing in their own learning.

If your child enjoys using the PlayZone on Maths-Whizz you might use this as an incentive to get them to focus on their targets each week. Work hard and play hard is very much our philosophy!

As the saying goes, we are what we repeatedly do. By meeting their weekly targets consistently, children will gradually develop both the knowledge and confidence they need to excel in maths.

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